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PaPeRo Helps Patients Suffering From Dementia

In a press release from August 24th, NEC outlined how its communication robot PaPeRo was used to assist patients suffering from dementia at the National Rehabilitation Center for the Disabled since October of 2009.  The robot was used as a kind of “interactive information support system”, providing information through dialog and encouraging independent living.  Dementia affects one’s memory and attention, so the robot has been programmed to use its speech recognition and speech synthesis capabilities to provide interactive features in four ways:

  1. Initiating a dialog/alert (calling to the person by their name)
  2. Memory support (example speech: “Looks like someone I know.”)
  3. New development communication (example speech: “Why don’t you go to the door?”)
  4. End of conversation (example speech: “It was nice meeting you.”)

The robot would remind patients to use the bathroom before going out, to check in with the front desk receptionist, when to take their medications, and encourage daily activity.  PaPeRo was designed with a variety of sensors including cameras with image recognition technology, which allows it to be used as a monitoring system for children and pets.  Its robust communication capabilities allow people to interface with information in a comfortable manner even if they don’t have any experience with computers.

The press release concludes by saying that NEC will continue to develop cool communication features, for children through to seniors, in order to offer easy access to information for everyone.

[source: NEC press release (JP)] via [Node (JP)]

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