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Ludwig the Robot Designed to Help Alzheimer's Patients

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University of Toronto's Frank Rudzicz called Ludwig's unveiling "exciting and eye-opening."

Researchers have developed a walking, talking robot called Ludwig to assist those suffering from cognitive decline.

Credit: CBC

A walking, talking robot called Ludwig developed by researchers at the University of Toronto (U of T) is envisioned as a tool to help people suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other forms of cognitive decline.

Ludwig has attracted much attention and praise since its unveiling at a retirement home in Toronto.

U of T professor Frank Rudzicz notes robotics is finding increasing use in healthcare environments. He says the straightforward, simple, and entertaining interaction of robots with autistic children has yielded promising results, which his team hopes to repeat with adult Alzheimer's patients.

The team initially is concentrating on speech recognition and Ludwig understanding and responding appropriately. However, the researchers also are investigating how the robot can sense changes to a person's cognitive state based on their speech patterns.

Further out is a project to make Ludwig capable of detecting "when someone's confused or not interested in conversation," Rudzicz says. "Over next three months, we'll be getting him to talk to residents and trying to figure out what ways he talks are most useful to a free-flowing conversation," he says. "When we learn that, we'll build that into the robot."

From CBC News (Canada)
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