Japanese creator, Takanori Shibata, has taken the term ‘service animal’ to another, more technological, level. Shibata’s creation, Paro, a robot seal, is helping to comfort dementia patients in the UK. This cuddly device is used to encourage social behavior, as well as make patients feel more at ease.
“It is a robot companion. It is about empowerment,” says Claire Jepson, an occcupational therapist at The Grange, an NHS specialist assessment unit for dementia patients. “It allows people to still feel a sense of achievement, a sense of identity. They become the carer instead of the cared for.”