A Banbury care home has welcomed a very unusual, high tech resident into the fold to aid in brain functionality.
An interactive robotic seal, nicknamed Sammy by Wardington House staff at the dementia-specialist nursing home, will provide the benefits of animal therapy on a daily basis.
The seal has been designed by Japanese based company AIST as a way of improving brain function.
The scientists behind the creation chose a seal instead of a more familiar robotic pet such as a dog as the brain would immediately identify a robotic dog as just that. The brain of most people does not have a preconceived notion of what or how a baby Harp seal pup should feel or behave.
George Tuthill, managing partner of Wardington House, said: “There is strong evidence that these robots can reduce stress and be a calming influence, and this is exactly what we saw when the staff introduced Sammy to the residents, particularly those whose level of dementia makes it difficult for them to join in the usual daily activities.
“We already have regular visits from a local PAT (Pets as Therapy) dog but, having Sammy permanently in the house, allows the residents to benefit this sort of interaction at any time.”