Robots in therapy for dementia patients

Francisco Martín Rico, Carlos Agüero Durán, José María Cañas Plaza, Gonzalo Abella Dago, Raúl Benítez Mejías, Sergio Rivero Espinosa, Meritxell Valentí Soler, Pablo Martínez Martín

Abstract

This paper presents the application developed for humanoid robots which are used in therapy of dementia patients, as a cognitive stimulation tool. It has been created using BICA, a component oriented framework for programming robot applications, which is also described. The developed robotherapy application includes the control software onboard the robot and some tools like the visual script generator or several monitoring tools to supervise the robot behavior along the sessions. The behavior of the robot along the therapy sessions is visually programmed in a session script that allows music playing, physical movements (dancing, exercises...), speech synthesis and interaction with the human monitor. The monitoring tools allow the therapist interaction with the robot through its buttons, a tablet or a Wiimote device. Experiments with real dementia patients have been performed in collaboration with a research center in neurological diseases. Initial results show a slight (or mild) improvement in neuropsychiatric symptoms over other traditional therapy methods.

Keywords

Social robotics; Humanoid robot; Robot therapy

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/JoPha.2013.7.1.07