From Brubotics Human Robotics Research Centre
The OCMW residential care centre Hof ten Doenberghe in Hoeilaart has a new resident: the social robot Pepper must ensure that residents can easily get in touch with their families.
“Several initiatives are already underway from the residential care centre to bring our residents closer to their families,” says An Eggerickx, head of residents’ care at Hof ten Doenberghe. Now there is a new resident: the social robot Pepper, from the BruBotics robotics research lab of the Free University of Brussels. “Most of our robots are now also technically unemployed. Together with people from care, we look for ways to use them usefully,” says Prof. Bram Vanderborght.
This robot can be called via Facebook Messenger for a video call. This allows the robot to easily connect the inhabitants with their families and help to combat loneliness in a safe way. Especially for residents with symptoms that are otherwise isolated, this can be an important added value. “A robot makes it a little more tangible than just a video call on a tablet,” says An Eggerickx. Thanks to Telenet, the robot gets a free 4G mobile internet connection.
“We are happy to be able to take this robot on loan and hope that this will provide a solution for many people to stay in touch with their families” says first ships Eva De Bleeker (Open Vld).
The idea came from Zorabots from Ostend who already employ 70 robots like Pepper, but also James, for free throughout Belgium. Plus, there are other robots on the way. The company has five years of experience with robots in the healthcare sector.