Domo arigato, Mrs Roboto: Madeley senior choir led in song by robot conductor Alice

Domo arigato, Mrs Roboto: Madeley senior choir led in song by robot conductor Alice
Domo arigato, Mrs Roboto: Madeley senior choir led in song by robot conductor Alice
Domo arigato, Mrs Roboto: Madeley senior choir led in song by robot conductor Alice

A SINGING, dancing 57cm tall robot has been leading a group of Madeley seniors in song.

The Zorabots robot named Alice runs weekly choir sessions for residents of Brightwater’s aged care facility in Madeley.

Alice was introduced to the facility in late 2015 as part of a 12-month clinical study.

Brightwater chief executive Jennifer Lawrence said the organisation was recently awarded funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Cognitive Decline Partnership Centre to determine if the use of a socialisation robot enhances the wellbeing of people living with dementia.

“From day one residents have loved engaging with Alice so this research is an important next step in understanding what impact she is having on older adults with cognitive and/or functional decline and how we can make the most of the opportunities she presents,” she said.

“The research will specifically investigate the impact of incorporating Alice into activities has on the target group and will also explore staff attitudes to the use of Alice within a residential aged care setting.”

Ms Lawrence said the project would run for another month, with the first results expected to be published later this year.

As well as running the choir, Alice leads therapy and leisure groups, and has captivated residents.

“By her size and nature, she is a really engaging and non-threatening tool to encourage participation in activities, providing stimulation to groups that might otherwise be hard to engage,” she said.

“Alice presents some fantastic opportunities to try new activities with residents but is only as good as the therapy team trained to use her, so it is important that we understand how staff feel about adding Alice to their therapy toolkit.”

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