Extraordinary robot dog offers companionship to sufferers of dementia
The inventor of a new robot dog hopes his creation will offer comfort and calmness to people with Alzheimer's and dementia. “Tombot” is ready for action.
Published on the 21/12/2019, 22:00
American creator Tom Stevens has devised a robotic dog that he hopes will aid the suffering of people with degenerative mental illness. Tombot is designed to offer all of the sensory pleasure of a real dog without the hassles.
Mr Stevens’ own mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2011. When Coco Bear - the dog she then owned - was rehomed Stevens considered alternative canine therapies, and came up with the idea of a robot dog.
“My mom was devastated,” Stevens told Insider. “So, I started looking around then for substitutes for live animal companions, didn't find anything that she liked or would respond to, so I started wondering whether technology might be able to play a role.”
Writes the Insider, Tombot is a hyper-realistic robotic dog that responds to touch and wags its tail. Tombot is fitted with various motors and all-body sensors. Its responsiveness, Stevens hopes, will aid in the care of sufferers of dementia.
Earlier this year Stevens announced plans for the introduction of robotic therapy animals like Tombot within the sick children's care sector.
On Facebook, Stevens writes, “I’ve faced a number of tough choices in my life, but taking away my mother’s dog was among the most difficult. Nancy was always eccentric, but in 2011 her quirky charm began to dwindle away.
"Coco Bear was my mother’s best friend; losing her contributed to her severe loneliness and depression. What I didn’t realize at the time is my mother’s story is not unique. Millions of people facing health adversities cannot safely or practically care for a live animal companion."
The robot dog will go on sale in 2020.