Goodwin residents couldn’t have enough of their robotic pet dog, Knuckey, and now they have new friends in baby seals, which can easily be mistaken for real seals straight from the Antarctic. Goodwin House Ainslie residents have affectionately named their seal “Meso” whom they can often be seen holding and cuddling in their arms, bringing smiles and loads of joys.
The robotic seals, developed by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology Japan under the brand name PARO, are a non-pharmacological therapy with no side effects. Designed especially with aged care residents in mind, they are an excellent substitute for animal therapy with no risk of animal infection or injury.
Built on artificial intelligence technology with inbuilt sensors, the seals exhibit life-like behaviour and simulate a variety of different emotional states including surprise, happiness and restlessness. They blink and coo in response to affectionate touch and voice, and also learn to respond to their name and different sounds, lights and temperatures.
Lorraine Magadzire, Deputy Director of Nursing said, “At Goodwin, we follow a philosophy of holistic support and care for our residents. The PARO robotic seals are a great new addition to our residential care facilities. They are proven to help reduce anxiety, depression, loneliness and aggressive behaviour whilst improving sociability and communication between residents and caregivers”.