The robot Pepper is the newest innovation in aged care technology.
The robot Pepper is the newest innovation in aged care technology. SoftBank Robotics

Robots to the rescue in elderly care

SHAPED like a human and capable of recognising human emotions, the cutely named Pepper is the newest innovation in aged care technology.

Japanese company SoftBank Robotics has developed the pint-sized robot to provide day-to-day companionship and support in everyday tasks.

Pepper can already recognise joy, sadness, anger and surprise. Using its cameras located in its head, Pepper can interpret a smile, frown, tone of voice as well as verbal and some body language.

For the news junkies, Pepper comes connected to the internet so it can keep you up to date with news, weather and more.

The robot even has the capability of being further personalised

The next development phase for Pepper will be carried out by researchers at the UK's University of Bedfordshire and Middlesex University.

The capabilities of the robot will include:

  • communicating through speech and gestures.
  • moving independently.
  • assisting an individual in performing everyday tasks (helping with to-do lists, keeping track of bills, suggesting menu plans).
  • providing health-related assistance (reminding an individual to take their medication, do their physical exercise, or raise the alarm in emergencies).
  • providing easy access to technology (internet, video calls, smart appliances for home automation).
  • providing entertainment (reading aloud, playing music and games).

Dr Chris Papadopoulos, principal lecturer at the University of Bedfordshire, will test and evaluate the robots' impact upon care home clients' health and wellbeing.

"The project is truly ground-breaking," Dr Papadopoulos said.

"Building culturally aware Pepper robots that can autonomously re-configure their interactions to match the culture, customs and etiquette of the person they're caring, means that they are more likely to be accepted by elderly clients."

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