A new study conducted by researchers at University of Massachusetts-Amherst reveals that using robots to provide speech and physical therapies to stroke patients may provide noticeable benefits.
The researchers observed how a uBot-5, a child-size humanoid robot interacted with a 72-year old male stroke patient and found that using such a robot could be effective in providing speech and physical therapies, such as word-retrieval games and arm movement tasks, in an engaging way.
The researchers said that the patient, who suffered from a physical disability on one side as well as aphasia, interacted with the robot over a few weeks and displayed 'notable gains in the frequency and range of the upper-limb movements'. The study has been published in the journal Aphasiology.
"In addition to improving quality of life, if we can support a client in the home so they can delay institutionalization, we can improve outcomes and make a huge impact on the cost of elder care. There are 70 million baby boomers beginning to retire now. Stroke rehabilitation is such a monumental financial problem everywhere in the world, that's where it can pay for itself", co-author of the study, Rod Grupen said.