Chat GPT-Enabled Companion Robot Being Tested at Aged Care FacilityChat GPT-Enabled Companion Robot Being Tested at Aged Care Facility
The robot was developed by Melbourne-based AI startup Andromeda Robotics to “revolutionize” human-robot interactions
November 9, 2023
Australian startup Andromeda Robotics has launched a pilot project testing its AI-enabled companion robot at an aged care facility.
The robot, Abi, uses Chat CPT-4 to conduct conversations with residents at the facility, as well as machine learning to recognize individual residents and AI to enable autonomous social interactions.
Using these tools, Abi can provide emotional support, tailor conversations based on previous interactions, and even give hugs “on demand.”
The project is being undertaken in collaboration with aged care provider Allity.
Thena Johnstone, National Pathways Manager at Allity, said the robot has been an immediate success with residents.
“We have been fortunate enough to be involved with the prototype robot, named Abi, from the very early stages and have watched it grow in both capability and physical stature,” she said. “Abi now stands some 120 cm tall and can gesture and move its head and eyes when interacting with residents.
“Social connection and engagement are an important part of high-quality care. I see a huge opportunity for robots such as Abi to make a real difference for residents and their quality of life. They can’t replace humans but can complement the fantastic levels of care our teams already provide.”
“Abi uses a mix of machine vision, artificial intelligence and Chat GPT to power its interactions with residents,” said Grace Brown, Andromeda’s founder. “The robot also relies on non-verbal cues and we have worked with advisors from animation studios Pixar and DreamWorks to make Abi’s body language as empathetic and engaging as possible.”
Brown said that, while the concept of companion robots was not new, they have been slow to take off because their conversational capabilities have remained relatively basic, something large language models have the potential to change.
“Recent advances in technology are helping Abi to take conversational AI to the next level,” she said. “This is not just when it comes to communicating with people but also making an emotional connection which is so important.”
According to its website, Andromeda Robotics aims to “revolutionize human-robot interactions,” creating companion robots that aren’t just smart but also empathetic, and help people see robots as “potential friends and companions” rather than simply tools.
Andromeda Robotics has received support from programs like the Boab AI Scaleup Program and investments from venture investors.
Using this funding, Andromeda said it aims to accelerate the development of Abi to bring it to commercialization. Brown said the initial trial at Allity was a significant step in developing the robot, with data collected from the trial to be used for future iterations.
“We are involved in Amazon’s AWS Robotics Startup Acceleration program and have raised $500,000 through Galileo Ventures,” said Brown. “This will allow us to continue our development program with the aim of bringing a fully functional robot to market within the next 18 months.”
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