We all want to be there when we’re needed but sometimes it just isn’t possible.
So researchers at the University of Southern Queensland and the UNSW, Sydney are testing a tool that lets us visit elderly relatives or friends, even when work, distance or other family commitments get in the way.
Telepresence robots won’t fool anyone into thinking they’re the real thing and they aren’t designed to.
They do, however, stand as tall as a person and can be moved around by a remote user, whose face and voice projects in real time from a screen at head height.
Telepresence robots allow loved ones to see and be seen by elderly people who want to stay in their homes without 24-hour care.
Researcher Don Kerr says telepresence could help improve the mental and physical health of older people.
“For example, an older person living alone could use the robot to call a loved one off-site and talk to them face-to-face about a trip risk in the home,” Dr Kerr says.
“The loved one can manoeuvre the robot to the area and view the problem in real time.
“As these technologies continue advancing, the potential benefits are increasing for both the older person and those who care about them.”
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