The future is now – Project: Integrate human robot into daily life

How to place a human robot in everyday life? Students from different cultures at Laurea University of Applied Sciences are dealing with this question in their project “Integrate Human Robots Fall 2022”. For this special project, Laurea was able to work along with one of their key partner Lauttasaaren senioritalo. The senior residence is located in Helsinki and accommodates about 110 seniors with different levels of care on three floors. The team explores various possibilities to integrate a robot into the daily life of the elderly home in a way that engages the residents. Lauttasaaren senioritalo is looking for a better quality of life and more satisfaction for their residents as well as relief for the staff of the senior home. After a concrete customer analysis in form of a survey to the staff, the project team was able to get a more detailed picture of how they could best support the Lauttasaaren senioritalo. Three robots, all with various functions, were particularly convincing.

Zora at Lauttasaaren senioritalo

The human like robot Zora, with a height of about 30cm and a weight of about 5.5kg, has the ability to see, speak, walk, and react. It also has the most functions and activities. Zora can play music, dance, host games, read stories, show exercises, or help with learning something new. If the robot is connected to WIFI Zora is even able to read the daily news or present the daily weather. With those multiple functions the project team has considered integrating Zora in the English Club at Lauttasaaren senioritalo to entertain the residents by telling stories, playing songs and games all in English. 

Project team introducing Moto tiles to residents

With Moto tiles we gained a different type of robot. Moto tiles cannot move by itself like Zora because it consist of portable jigsaw pieces which have both LED and touch sensors. The tiles are lightweight, durable and can be configured in multiple ways. As the tiles are designed as puzzle pieces, they can be combined in manner of ways or even placed separately. On a tablet you can choose from a variety of pre-configured games like fast movement or memory exercises. The games can also be formed as a competition and played by one to four players. With many movement activities the team came up with the idea to integrate Moto tiles in Lauttasaaren senioritalo’s Active Residents Group with the games “Simon says”, “Color race”, and “Concentration sound”.

Residents enjoying Paro the baby seal

Finally, the robot pet Paro with a length of 57cm and a weight of 2.7kg. Paro the baby harp seal is an advanced, interactive therapeutic robot. Whilst pet-assisted therapy has shown to be beneficial, it’s not always practical to have live animals in a hospital or residential care setting. Paro is the perfect alternative furry companion – always available, housetrained, and well-behaved – while delivering the same benefits. It has five kinds of sensors: tactile, light, audition, temperature, and posture sensors, with which it can perceive people and its environment. With the light sensor, Paro can recognize light and dark. He feels being stroked and beaten by tactile sensor or being held by the posture sensor. Paro can also recognize the direction of voice and words such as its name, greetings, and praise with its audio sensor. For Paros introduction at Lauttasaaren senioritalo the team decided to visit the Memory Disorder Group.

After testing the three robots at Lauttasaaren senioritalo the project team could observe everybody was enjoying “the new”. Also, there was a lot of scepsis in the air, after introducing our lovely robots Zora, Moto tiles and Paro the team was able to give some relief. 

In summary a lot of data was gathered and a second survey to the staff for closer information left the team with unexpected surprises. The allrounder Zora was not as popular as expected, but instead Paro the baby seal stole everyone’s heart. Likewise, many data on what could be improved to make the robots more enjoyable was received. Zora was expected to be bigger and more interactive while Moto tiles could have been more improved for games during sitting. In contrast Paro convinced some residents to be a real animal, triggered their communication and elicited one or other story of previous pets they used to have. Especially shy residents or elderly with memory loss felt comfortable in Paro’s company. 

In the end this coworking with Lauttasaaren senioritalo has been a pleasure so far and the project team is working further on analyzing the data to come up with more ideas that can be improved to bring more joy to the residents and increase the quality of their lives.

Suurin osa Showcasen blogeista on toteutettu osana Laurean opintojaksoja. Koko koulutustarjontaamme voi tutustua nettisivuillamme. Tarjoamme kymmenien tutkintoon johtavien koulutuksien lisäksi myös paljon täydennys- ja erikoistumiskoulutuksia sekä yksittäisiä opintojaksoja avoimen AMK:n kautta!

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