World News – AU – A joint research project to bring a ‘pet robot’ puppy to elderly care residents


Geriatric residents in Perth will soon welcome MiRo, a robotic pet or’ petoid ‘, as part of a joint research project between Curtin, The Brainary, and Meath Care’s Michael Lee Center in Como

MiRo is a fully autonomous, programmable, emotionally-engaging, and animal-like robot companion, providing users with a similar experience to having a live pet – also talking

Olive Wright, CEO of Meath Care, said the COVID 19 pandemic situation has highlighted the need for more resources for those who live in elderly care, and especially for residents who are unable to frequently visit family members and friends, for various reasons.

Ms Wright said: « While human touch and humane care are indispensable, robots can provide entertainment, cognitive simulation, education and information, and, in the case of MiRo, a sense of companionship for elderly care residents. »

Hugh Kingsley, founder of The Brainary, a Victoria-based education company, said the MiRo is like a small dog in size and appearance and even comes with a ball, bones, food bowl and breeding house

“MiRo loves to play and responds to human interaction, just like a real puppy and with the additional programming, what we like to call ‘puppy school’, MiRo has the potential to not only provide companionship, but it can also be an excellent resource for residents with dementia

“This collaboration with Curtin University and Mythcare is a great example of a realistic project that not only adds knowledge but also helps people live a meaningful life,” said Mr. Kingsley.

Professor Tilly Tan, from the School of Electrical Engineering, Computer Science and Mathematics and the School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at Curtin University, explained that a group of four final-year Bachelor of Computing students will participate in the research and development of the MiRo « puppy school » program.

“Meath Care has given us a list of functional requirements for MiRo in aged care settings. For example, they want MiRo to recognize residents’ faces and be able to greet them by name, as well as for MiRo to be able to play quiz games with them, ”the professor said. Tan

“We are really excited to work with MiRo and come up with engaging software for Petoid, with the ultimate goal of improving the daily interactive experience of residents in aged care”

The project is expected to continue until the middle of next year, providing opportunities for additional Curtin students to participate in the research and development of the MiRo app

Once MiRo is programmed, it will be presented to selected residents of Meath Care’s Michael Lee Center where the daily interactions and features of the Bitoid will be researched, further enhancing its programs, as well as potentially paving the way for future Bitoid projects

Research, Dog, Elderly Care, Robotic Pets

World News – AU – A joint research project to bring a « puppy » robot to elderly care residents


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