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A $6,000 Seal Becomes Robotic Companion for Older Adults
Residents at Mount Macrina Manor, a long-term care facility in Uniontown, Pa., have many furry companions to keep them company: dogs, cats, bunnies, birds, and a couple of robotic white baby seals. Residents and staff call one of the seals Sarah, but to its manufacturers and researchers, it's known as Paro. Patti Benford, Mount Macrina's administrator, said therapists caring for patients with dementia use Paro to help them work through problems with communication and social interaction. She said most residents react to the robot the same way they respond to therapy with live animals … "We get concerned about whether these devices promote detachment from reality," said Ron Arkin, regent's professor and director of the mobile robot laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "Also, are we abrogating our responsibilities to our fellow human beings by suddenly saying, the robot can take care of you?"
Article can be found at abcNEWS