Robotic seals designed to improve the well-being of people living with dementia are to be trialled in North Yorkshire.
The lap-sized therapeutic robots are designed to keep dementia patients company and are part of North Yorkshire County Council’s strategy to explore the benefits of assistive technology.
Originally developed in Japan 15 years ago, the seals are fitted with five sensors which can detect touch, light, sound, temperature and posture.
Its audio sensor ensures that it can recognise words including its name, greetings, and praise.
The seals will be trialled for three months by Dementia Forward, during which their impact on patient’s wellbeing will be assessed, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
A report to the county’s care and independence scrutiny committee said: “Trials across the world have found it [the seal] reduces stress, stimulate interaction between people and carers, and has been shown to have a psychological effect on people, improving their relaxation and motivation and reducing challenging behaviour.”
North Yorkshire County Council head of housing Michael Rudd told The Scarborough News: “Whenever we talk about technology, there’s always some concerns raised around social isolation and human beings being replaced by machines,” he said.
“For us, where technology sits, it benefits what we already have and allows us to maximise our workforce.”
A report presented to committee members said: “Trials across the world have been found to reduce stress, stimulate interaction between people and carers, and has been shown to have a psychological effect on people, improving their relaxation and motivation and reducing challenging behaviour.