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Hospital Visits Take on New Meaning With Therapeutic Robots


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An illustration of a medical robot

Companies and research centers participating in the MOnarCH project will introduce a community of social robots in hospital settings, to allow researchers to watch how humans and robots interact.

Credit: Gizmodo.com.au

The Multi-Robot Cognitive Systems Operating in Hospitals (MOnarCH) project will give European researchers an opportunity to closely examine how humans and robots interact.

The participating companies and research centers plan to introduce a community of social robots that will collaborate with medical personnel and interact with children who have cancer, meeting their different psychological needs.

Scientists from the Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M) Robotics Lab will develop and program all of the actions and interactive behavior of the fleet of robots, including the way they converse with others, play with children, and adapt to their individual needs. The Technical University of Lisbon is coordinating the three-year project. Scientists from nine companies and research centers in five countries are involved in MOnarCH.

Most social robotics research so far has been focused on the technology's use in controlled environments. "The introduction of a group of autonomous social robots into surroundings with these characteristics is something new, and we hope that the project will help us to advance in the development of robots that are able to relate to people in complex situations and scenarios," says UC3M professor Miguel Angel Salichs.

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