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Article: Can Robots Cure Loneliness

Can Robots Cure Loneliness

Can Robots Cure Loneliness

The pandemic has increased stress, social isolation and loneliness across the globe. The World Happiness Report states that worry has risen on a daily basis from 30% to 40% over the past 10 years by the Wellbeing Research Centre at Oxford University.
New research by Cambridge University has looked at ways to reduce loneliness and social isolation, they even included robots! We are now increasing aware of technology in our daily lives but can a robot cure this? Zoom Fatigue
Well, yes but not just any robot - it's a robotic dog! They say man's best friend can truly help especially during covid-19 and the best thing is that no feeding involved or even cleaning up after them! Animal companionship has proven to reduce isolation and social disconnection but the practicality of it can be limited, for example, memory or mobility issues or some accommodation won't permit pets.


Robots and The Elderly


The study focused on the elderly population which have been unable to see friends and family including potential elderly people in nursing or care homes. Interactions with a robotic dog is just as effective as a real dog in reducing loneliness research which was produced in the Plos One Journal .
It's not just dogs - they included robotic seals (unsure how that works!) which responded to stimuli by moving or imitating the noses of a baby harp seal improved loneliness too. This would be great in a care home where a robotic dog would provide association to those isolated from family members. Other useful techniques include tai chi, laughter therapy, art appreciation, reminiscence therapy, video gaming and indoor gardening.
There have been some interesting devices and hits shown at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) particularly the elderly people with daily life. We look forward to more innovative products. So next time you want to provide a gift, don't forgot to consider a robotic dog!

Source: https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/robotic-dogs-and-laughter-therapy-10-ways-to-combat-loneliness-and-isolation-while-social-distancing

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