A university initiative will see robots appear in care homes in Lincolnshire, the Lincolnshire Echo reported earlier this month….
The trial by the University of Lincoln initially saw the robot, nicknamed Alfie put into care homes across the region including in Lincoln and Grantham in December.
But after the initial success of the trial, many residents are “looking forward to potentially participating in the final testing stage in 2017”, so says Hazel Ashmore from Lace Housing.
This news came six days after The Guardian ran a story about Nadine, a “humanoid robot personal assistant” for elderly people. Nadine looks just like a human, but something about her means you can’t see past the robot – perhaps it’s the blank, soulless eyes?
That same Guardian article references another robot friend this time from Japan – Paro the cuddly seal robot is exactly that a – cuddly seal robot – which befriends the elderly.
While futuristic technology can be helpful and if it works, making the elderly feel more comfortable it can only be a good thing. But one thing is missing here – human nature.
That nature, which can befriend, reassure and more than any other care. That nature, which can comfort in times of need, and that no matter what boffins and experts create, can never be matched 100% by even the most advanced robot.
For lonely, the elderly and those who require help, a voice to talk to can make all the difference and sometimes all it takes is a simple “hello how are you” delivered with a genuine smile and sincerity to make a day.
The technology is undoubtedly impressive, but there is no substitute for compassion.