In Australia, scientists are developing a giraffe-like robot to assist dementia patients with communication:
WENDY MOYLE: The giraffe is quite tall. It’s quite a large robot and its head is greater or the same size as a human head.
DAVID LEWIS: The robot is designed to facilitate video calls and has been described as Skype on wheels.
Professor Moyle says it would be kept inside the home of a person with dementia but controlled remotely by their relatives.
WENDY MOYLE: For example they might live in the Gold Coast, their family member could be in Perth. They would call in to the robot, wake the robot up, the person with dementia doesn’t need to do anything at all. The family member then could drive – through their own computer – drive the giraffe actually to the person’s bedside or if they’re outside in the garden to connect directly with them.
As with most telepresence robots, the cost is a little prohibitive at $9,000 a robot.