Hangzhou, China: Robot Companions Allow Residents to Video Call Relatives As Well As Monitoring Life Vitals

Robot companions assist elderly patients at home in Hangzhou, China

Mail Online published an article a couple days ago explaining how a “Nursing home for the elderly has introduced fully automated robotic assistants to provide a variety or useful services for the grateful residents”. The robots, which were created by a local tech company, are very easy to use, and were given the name “Little Iron”.

Little Iron, standing just under 3ft and works up to 72 hours, has the ability to converse with the residents, hand out designated medication, and monitor life vitals of the residents.

However, there was one feature in particular that was proven to be very beneficial to the pensioners. This is the ability the robots had for video calls. Little Iron allows for the elderly to video call their relatives as well as entertain the patients with music (it can sing opera!).
man and a robot

Zhao Huming, who is the deputy director of the care home stated, “Most of their [pensioners] families are busy with their work and life, and don’t spend much time visiting their elders”. Therefore, the video conferencing technology that is built inside the robot enables the pensioners to be able to chat with them without the work of setting it up.

It was found that pensioners find it difficult to talk through video chat on computers. With that said, as long as they have the app on whatever conferencing method they choose, they’re easily able to talk to their family through the robot.

Using robots as carers for old people has become a very popular idea in Asia and has been pursued with a great deal of financial might. With Japan having the world’s oldest population, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe allocated 2.39 bn(~27 Million CAD)  yen to help with care for the elderly.

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