Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire have developed a prototype of a social robot which supports independent living for the elderly, working in partnership with their relatives or carers. The robot uses a state of the art service platform called Care-O-bot® 3 and works within a smart-home environment. Over the past three years the project team successfully carried out a wide range of studies in the University's Robot House which included, detecting the activity and status of people in a smart-home environment as well as focusing on robots' ability to remember and recall.
Developments, which was part of an EU project called ACCOMPANY (Acceptable Robotics Companions for Ageing Years), culminated into three interaction scenarios, which were subsequently evaluated by involving elderly people and their formal/informal carers across France, the Netherlands and the UK. ACCOMPANY's results demonstrated that a social robot can potentially help to prevent isolation and loneliness, offering stimulating activities whilst respecting autonomy and independence. The project received excellent results from its final review in Brussels.