Robot assesses, assists dementia patients

Ludwig is a University of Toronto – built robot meant to assist seniors with cognitive issues.

“He” stands in front of a person, displays a picture on a screen, and asks the viewer to describe what he or she sees. Ludwig then interprets a user’s condition, including engagement, happiness or anxiety, and behavior changes over time.

With in-ear microphones, in-eye cameras, and feet embedded sensors, he tracks one’s stare, body movement, intonation and choice of words.  Based on these factors, speech recognition technology provides an analysis of cognitive health.

The second generation robot was originally built to guide seniors around their own homes, but was not interactive.

The new system will be piloted in a senior living facility in Canada next month.  Ludwig will be placed  in a common room so that residents can approach him casually.  If successful, a robot like this could help seniors age in place, or assist those with brain injuries and diseases in managing the activities of daily living.

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