Benetas trials robot companion

The AI-powered technology uses machine-learning algorithms to recognise residents and customise conversations.

Aged care, retirement living and community services provider Benetas is trialling the use of a companion robot at one of its sites in Melbourne.

The provider has partnered with Australian-based firm Andromeda Robotics to test the interactive skills of AI-powered Abi at its St George’s facility in Altona.

Elyssia Clark

“This is an important and exciting step to see how we can improve the lives of our residents, leveraging artificial intelligence and robotics to create unique social interactions,” said Elyssia Clark, Benetas’ general manager of customer, insights and marketing.

Abi – which arrived at the site earlier this month – uses advanced AI and machine-learning algorithms to recognise residents, answer questions and customise conversations based on previous interactions.

Described as a technology that will “bridge the gap between humans and machines”, the humanoid-looking robot speaks 90 languages, helping it interact with residents with a native tongue other than English.

Fully autonomous, Abi uses stereoscopic cameras for computer vision and depth-sensing capabilities and has a dialogue engine that enables it to converse naturally and emotively.

Over the next three months, Abi’s performance will be monitored to measure its impact in the home and analyse resident experience as well as staff reflections. “We look forward to seeing how Abi relates to residents and the results from the trial,” said Ms Clark.

Grace Brown with Abi

Andromeda Robotics co-founder Grace Brown said Abi was specifically developed to offer friendship and support to aged care residents.

“With her inquisitive and child-like personality, Abi is programmed to engage interactively and empathetically with residents, fostering both emotional and social wellbeing,” she said. “She is more than a piece of technology, Abi is a friend who brings joy and companionship to everyday life.”

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Tags: andromeda robotics, benetas, companion robots, elyssia clark, Grace Brown,

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