How Robot Therapists Can Fill A Gap in Health Care

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Robots - Key Aides to Resource Constrained Health-Care


As technology tends to progress robots are eradicating job labour in hospitals and will take up therapeutic roles such as helping autistic children encouraging teens with diabetes to exercises and keeping elderly Alzheimer’s patients company.

According to a recent McKinsey & Co. study shows that the industry of health-care is said to be the most unaffected regarding resisting mechanisation where less than 30% of the activities of a nurse could be mechanical. The demand for health care tends to be so great that we find robots as key aides to resource constrained health- care workers.

The aim was to fill a hole which tends to leave several patients under served and alone. Professor Maja Mataric leading the team at the University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering had stated that they are mostly motivated by autism since the incidence seems to be so high and several children presently have been diagnosed with autism.

It has been estimated by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention that 1 in 68 children had been analysed with autism spectrum disorder. The National Autism Association had informed that autism is the fastest growing until now, the most underfunded progressive disorder.

Robots Beneficial in Training Autistic Children


This tends to develop a great as well as a growing demand for services which are unable to be handled by the prevailing human resources. Professor Mataric began developing her socially assistive robots with expressive features together with virtual personalities, twelve years back. She has teamed up with manufacturers in developing the bots, some of which seems to be more human looking than the others and is programmed utilising the data from the research of USC.

Sensors have been implanted in the bots which tend to collect further data on things such as group interactions, inclusive of the flow of human communication together with the time taken for a person in completing a given task.

As the information progresses, the model will also tend to improve. Robots could be beneficial in training some of the autistic children on how to behave in socially suitable ways and could at times draw out social skills which human therapist could be struggling to produce.

Robots Could Help to Break the Ice and Make Friends


For certain kids, robots tend to be less frightening than humans and also have the added advantage of being capable of repeating behaviour with stability that could be helpful in therapy, according to Mataric. In one of her project, Mataric had utilised her robots to help in teaching children with autism on sharing.

The kids together with the robots had taken turns playing a game in helping the child build an understanding on when to let others take their turn. The initial step was for the child to play with the robot and the next was to introduce another child in the game.

Mataric has mentioned that the main part of a robot assisted therapy is not just to have it between the user and the robot but it has to be with other people also. That is especially true in autism since the deficit is regarding social behaviour. Robots could also tend to break the ice with autistic kids who seem to have difficulty in making friends.

Mataric has begun her own firm to commercialize bots of USCand is of the belief that, as in the case of other commercial products such as iRobot’s Roomba vacuum, prices would drop as the industry progresses. She states that the only way to reach real people in the real world is to make the product reasonably priced.

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