NHS Western Isles is doing experiments with putting robots in the homes of people who suffer from dementia. Relatives and/or carers can drive the robot around and check if everything is all right inside the house from hundreds of miles away.

The robots are called “Giraffe’s” are 1.5 meters tall, can drive around using flexible wheels and has a tv screen where its head should be. This allows for friends and family to stay in long distance contact with the person suffering from dementia.

Quote by Emelin Collier, head of planning for NHS Western Isles:

“The Giraff is simple to use; it is kept in the home of the person with dementia, and the controls for the robot are with the person’s relative or carer.

The relative could call into the robot to effectively waken it up, and the person with dementia would not have to do anything at all.

The caller’s face would appear on the screen, and the caller could then navigate the robot through the home of the person with dementia to check that all is well, check medication has been taken, food has been eaten, the person has washed and dressed or just to provide reassurance or have a chat.”

According to several health institutes, earlier tests with the robot where done in Australia and it turns out that the patients aren’t afraid of the robot. In many cases the robot even helped the people suffering from dementia to maintain decent social communication with friends and family.

The robot is meant to improve the life quality of people suffering from dementia, but who are also living in remote areas without any caretakers or relatives nearby. The early tests show promising results and the Giraffe robots could potentially be used in other forms of health care such as monitoring hospital halls or maintaining contact with patients on the other side of the building.

(thanks to BBC news)