PARO is an interactive robotic seal. This cuddly and responsive robot provides undemanding interactions and can deliver outcomes similar to animal-assisted therapy.
Today’s post is about PARO and the benefits it can provide to people with dementia.
PARO is a therapeutic robot in the form of a baby seal, developed in Japan to respond to touch, light, sound, temperature and positioning.
PARO has been shown to have a positive psychological effect on people living with dementia, improving their relaxation and motivation. It can also improve the socialisation of patients with each other, and with caregivers. PARO responds to sound and can even learn common words over time, such as its chosen name.
Article: Exploring the Effect of Companion Robots on Emotional Expression in Older Adults with Dementia: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial by Wendy Moyle [et al], Journal of Gerontological Nursing, Vol. 39, No. 5, May 2013, p.46-53
This pilot study aimed to compare the effect of companion robots (PARO) to participation in an interactive reading group on emotions in people living with moderate to severe dementia in a residential care setting. A randomized crossover design, with PARO and reading control groups, was used. Eighteen residents with mid- to late-stage dementia from one aged care facility in Queensland, Australia, were recruited. Participants were assessed three times using the Quality of Life in Alzheimer’s Disease, Rating Anxiety in Dementia, Apathy Evaluation, Geriatric Depression, and Revised Algase Wandering Scales. PARO had a moderate to large positive influence on participants’ quality of life compared to the reading group. The PARO intervention group had higher pleasure scores when compared to the reading group. Findings suggest PARO may be useful as a treatment option for people with dementia; however, the need for a larger trial was identified.
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From the SBS Insight website:
“Stephen Hawking recently warned that the development of full artificial intelligence (AI) systems could spell the end of the human race.
Technological progress has seen robots become more sophisticated, so what will be the economic impact of AI?
Could we actually be entering an age of abundance for humans catered to by robot slaves?
Insight asks: Is humanity really being threatened by thinking robots, and where will robotic advances take us into the future?
What are the ethical and moral questions to consider?”
Guests include Professor Wendy Moyle who discusses a trial using PARO during the show.
Professor Moyle is Director of the Centre for Health Practice Innovation: “We’ve got a very large trial running with over 400 people with dementia… and we’re looking at whether (the robot) makes a difference to them in terms of emotional response… ”