Robot may help those with memory loss

Local News

LITTLETON, Colo. (KDVR) — A University of Denver professor and a team of engineers have created a robot they say will help those with memory loss.

Brian Nelson has been dealing with memory loss for quite a while.

“I’m 80 years old; old guy,” Nelson said.

Enter Ryan, who had a conversation with Brian at Highline Place, an assisted living facility in Littleton.

Ryan is a robot.

“This is a social robot, or a social companion bot, and has been designed to help people with mental disabilities, cognitive disabilities,” said Dr. Mohammed Mahoor, a University of Denver professor.

The robot’s creators hope the plastic person will help those with Alzheimer’s and other memory-impairing diseases. It’s been under design for five years.

“It can recognize your voice and can answer your questions so he won’t be tired of, you know, repetitive questions,” Mahoor said.

They say Ryan the robot has life-like reactions and human emotions. So, the question is, why not use a real person?

“That is a good question. You know that there is a shortage of caregivers nowadays, right?” Mahoor said.

Ryan the robot is said to understand emotions by observing facial expressions.

“Happiness, sadness, anger, you know, fear, surprise and disgust,” Mahoor said.

What does Nelson think about Ryan the robot?

“I liked a lot about it, nothing against it, it’s interesting,” Nelson said.

Ryan the robot will soon be available on a lease basis at around $750 per unit per month.

While Ryan is not the perfect robot, he will talk with patients when perhaps no one else will.

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