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Can robot pets and VR headsets cure loneliness among adults?

Several startups have started working on technologies so that the growing depression amongst the American elderly can be curbed in a jiffy.

India TV Tech Desk Edited By: India TV Tech Desk New Delhi Published on: February 06, 2023 19:45 IST
Robot, VR
Image Source : UNSPLASH Can Robot Pets and VR Headsets cure loneliness among adults?

Loneliness among the elderly, especially in the United States of America, is on the rise. Startups are investigating how technology may assist them. According to the Pew Research Center, the US has the largest percentage of older individuals living alone in the world. Social isolation has long been linked to a variety of health issues, including dementia and depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and robotic pets are the technological solutions to this problem. While eldercare managers and physicians agree that they aren't perfect alternatives for human interaction, they can help with loneliness, despair, and overall well-being. And the older individuals I spoke with who had the opportunity to try out some of the latest technology fell in love with them, especially when carers could assist them when required.

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Three notable technical advances have arisen to reduce social isolation among the elderly. The first among the three is VR experiences. Rendever Inc. has been delivering virtual reality to senior citizens in assisted-living facilities since 2016. Staff members provide participants with headgear and assist them through the virtual experience. Users may meet up with avatars of loved ones in a virtual house once they've logged in. They can play chess or lounge on the porch and watch butterflies. Excursions, such as a bus trip through a Parisian avenue, are also available.

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The second category is robot companions. In March of last year, Intuition Robotics introduced its ElliQ companion robot for elderly individuals. The small desktop robot, unlike an Amazon Alexa gadget, starts talking. It learns about the people with whom it lives so that it may ask individualised inquiries and make tailored recommendations for nutrition, exercise, meditation, and music.

Robot Dogs are the third developing technology that attempts to reduce adult loneliness in the United States. Tombot Inc., located in Santa Clarita, California, created Jennie, a robotic yellow Labrador retriever puppy. To create it seem and act like a genuine lap dog, the business collaborated with Jim Henson's Creature Shop. It doesn't make the same movements as toy dogs, and its puppy-dog eyes are accentuated by brow movement.


Q1. What does VR stand for?
VR stands for Virtual Reality.

Q2. What is the name of the Robot Dog created by Tombot Inc.?
‘Jennie’ is the name of the Robot Dog

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