Your Own Personal Electronic Butler

The SOTA – Home-Care Robot which specialises in assisting and communicating with those in care centres or benefiting from home-care services was unveiled at the annual scientific meeting of the Irish Gerontological Society’s (IGS).

The Japanese robot is like a personal electronic butler or carer. Designed and developed by NTT Data in Japan, it can connect to a television, blood pressure monitor and other devices, creating a so-called ‘Internet of Things’ network.

Weighing about 1kg, the robot is very portable and at 28cm high, it is best positioned on a table or desk.

The Sota robot will likely be priced at about €700 with potential for monthly service prices for home use.  Sota communicates and asks questions like: “How are you?” and “let’s measure blood pressure.” It can continue with:  “Use that blood pressure monitor, and then dim the light so you can relax.” The room lighting is then automatically dimmed.

The Sota robot assistant can also turn on heating and urge someone to drink more water – based on body temperature and heart-rate measured via smart sensors and wearable devices.

Other aspects of robot-care issues were addressed at the IGS seminars including introducing communicative robots which help to improve older people’s activity levels and also robots with infra-red monitors and their impact on workloads in nursing care night shifts. Another paper examined surveys on whether robots can reduce loneliness and social isolation in people with dementia.