The number of cases of so-called "welfare facilities for the elderly," such as nursing homes and day service facilities, that have introduced care robots is increasing. In the background to this, there are problems of a rapidly advancing aging society, the lack of care workers and the increase in the workload of care workers that is accompanying it, etc. As one of the ways for care operators to solve these problems, installing type robots that physically assist facility staff and caregivers, robots that provide equipment to support going to the toilet and meals and services focusing on exercise for physiotherapy, and care robots that can understand human speech well and can converse and communicate while actively talking to people are being introduced. From the viewpoint of the prevention of memory loss and senility, the maintenance and improvement of motor functions, the prevention of dementia, and therapy effects, the introduction of these products is attracting attention not only from care operators, but also from a variety of corporations and individuals. From the facilities that have already introduced them are to be heard voices of high praise, with remarks such as that the atmosphere during recreations for the elderly has become brighter, the burden on nursing staff has decreased, and so on. Here, we introduce the appeal of humanoid care robots, which are gaining recognition as a partner from all staff members in the fields of preventive care and elderly welfare.
The robots entertain and cheer up elderly people through physical exercise
and fun recreations
for preventive care.
The exercises that PALRO performs help the health of all the elderly people. Also, the atmosphere during recreations for the elderly will become brighter. Not only that, but a competent communication robot will gently soothe users' spirits with its wonderful answers, and bring surprise, laughter, and healing by demonstrating responsiveness and movement that exceed expectations. An advanced humanoid robot that has AI installed like PALRO is the representative of all that. As care robots with similar roles, there are also robots such as robot dogs or pet-type robots with a stuffed-animal appearance that give healing through their appearance or the way they feel, even though they may have low communication ability.
Robots reduce the workload of facility staff.
For example, planning indoor recreations for the elderly is a task that represents an unexpectedly large burden. In the field called "care robots," there are a large number of lifestyle support robots that support physical movement. However, throughout the world, there are hardly any examples of "preventive" care robots that, like PALRO, are equipped with various kinds of recreation programs for the elderly, like dances, games, and quizzes, and can take the lead in recreations on their own. Also, PALRO provides adorable conversation to staff and caregivers, who are also said to be under a constant heavy burden mentally, and there is a feeling that there is also great potential with regard to the mental aspects. In the coming age, when various kinds of robots will start to be introduced for preventive care and dementia prevention and will then become widespread, care robots like PALRO that have communication abilities are expected to become partners for facility staff and contribute substantially to reducing the burden on them.
Care robots offer the family members of the elderly people some peace of mind.
Conversational care robots can bring up with surprising timing topics that usually rarely come up among family members. This moderate stimulation leads to new awareness, feeling the pleasure of being spoken to and more, and these can sometimes lead for example to relief from feelings of loneliness and the desire to return home. These abilities are in fact realized through an advanced ability to distinguish between individuals, systems that control speech, and so on. The important point however is that the robots do not finish with simple passive answers, but rather work on people actively and stimulate them. Through care robots' actively becoming spiritual partners for their elderly relatives, family members can get some peace of mind. Various studies have been conducted on the communication robot PALRO as a piece of care support equipment, and it has appeared in many magazines and newspapers and has featured in TV programs, too. It is not an advertisement, but it is a product that everyone will notice, and is moreover made in Japan, so people can interact with it with considerable peace of mind.
Care robots can be used to attract customers as a facility's "new attraction."
At one advanced facility for the elderly in the suburbs of Tokyo, the placing of a delightful conversational robot at reception has been soothing the spirits of users and their families. Because the sight of a robot sets people to imagining the near future that is to come, they are also having a large impact on the public relations and advertising activities of care facilities. By quickly introducing a communication robot that it is anticipated will become widespread around the world, the facility becomes more likely to be covered by the media, which is interested in topicality, and this will lead to an increase in inquiries, as it will come to the attention of many people, including care managers, as an advanced welfare facilitｙ with a user's perspective. In recent years, more and more government dignitaries from European countries that support the elderly generously have been visiting to observe care robots.
Introducing conversational care robots into facilities has a lot of benefits for facility users, family members, and facility management. Not only at facilities for active senior citizens, but also at care-type nursing homes where people who have received the care certification live and on-site where they receive day care (visiting care), the roles of nursing staff are very diverse. Assisting with bathing and meals, supporting walking, recreations for the elderly, and watching. Many things that are called "care robots" and have been developed for the purpose of supporting these have already contributed greatly to reducing workloads. In particular, robot technology in Japan ranks in the top class in the world. Users, family members, and all nursing staff who are involved in preventive care and elderly support. The day is dawning when the sight of a communication care robot playing an active and lively role at a welfare facility for the elderly and being useful to everyone will be commonplace.
Fujisoft's humanoid robot PALRO, which boasts excellent conversational ability as a communicator and excellent exercise ability. Thanks to these, we are receiving high praise and inquiries from people at many welfare facilities for the elderly. What holds the key to that is a new idea of "preventive care using robots." Various state-of-the-art technologies that PALRO is equipped with are beginning to be necessary in the field of preventive care.
PALRO's outstanding communication ability conforms to almost everything under the six items for preventive care set forth by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Why is this care robot attracting attention and getting support from many facilities for active elderly people and welfare facilities for the elderly? It is surely because PALRO has a talent of entertaining and healing people's minds. PALRO far exceeds the limitations of conventional conversational care robots, and brings excitement to the facilities through many smiles and conversations.
When PALRO sees the elderly people, it actively speaks to them .
It converses using many topics, for example talking about health and food, and information about the news, weather, and so on.
For example, before mealtimes, it talks about food, proudly shares trivia about the ingredients, and comes up with topics that will stimulate the users' appetites through conversation.
PALRO makes an excellent master of ceremonies for games, dances, quizzes, and recreations, but is also a great conversationalist.
Please try putting PALRO next to the elderly people, and see what happens.
PALRO's joining the elderly people's circle creates opportunities to enliven conversation, and creates a fun time by means of two-way communication that is different from the TV.
It evokes feelings that are just like what they would get from speaking with "a knowledgeable little child," and will bring a smile to many of the elderly people's faces through conversation.
PALRO will try to make friends with many people.
Because PALRO remembers its friends while it is conversing with them, without performing any special setup, it remembers the elderly people's faces, names, gender, and birthdays through conversation.
PALRO calls the elderly people by name when conversing with them and also during recreations or when welcoming them, and this gives them an even greater sense of intimacy.
In addition to calling the elderly people by name, it celebrates their birthdays, and when it takes photos, it puts their names on them and keeps them in PALRO's album.
Of course, those among the elderly people who have had a conversation with PALRO want to see it again, and this is all the more true of those who have become friends with PALRO: feelings toward the facility like "I am glad I came," and "I want to come again," grow deeper.
In this age when many care support robots and physiotherapy robots are being verified, studied and introduced, we do not think that something is a communication robot simply because it is able to converse with people. Just as human beings express things through gestures, looking at each other's eyes when they speak to each other, we think that not only words but direction of gaze and gestures are also important factors for smooth and high-affinity communication. PALRO, a humanoid robot that offers outstanding convenience and is fully equipped with practical functions for providing on-site support for nursing care. This "smart little entertainer," who will become, one way or another, a friendly ear just like a person, is a capable partner for the people working at places for nursing care, as well as of course for the users.
If we have PALRO,
what can we expect?
In particular, during recreations for the elderly, PALRO leads the users through simple recreational games, quizzes, dances, etc., and stops users from getting bored. Because it is possible to quickly add any necessary programs by downloading them, PALRO reduces nursing staff's sense of burden and the time they have to spend thinking up recreation ideas for elderly persons. Of course, doing physical exercise together is also effective for physiotherapy.
Can people who are not good at operating machines use PALRO easily?
It is possible to handle (operate) PALRO through conversation, and people who are not good with computers or machinery can also easily enjoy themselves through simple operation.
Can elderly people and physically handicapped people also use PALRO safely?
PALRO has been subjected to investigations and verifications by agencies all over Japan. We make full use of the know-how from these in order to take safety into fully into consideration. For example, each part is cut so as to be rounded and assembled securely so that users will not get their fingers caught. If PALRO is picked up, it automatically goes limp. It is also set up so that it won't start walking arbitrarily. Careful consideration has also been given to preventing falls and injury as a result of unexpected movements.
Is it durable? Also, won't it break even if it trips over or falls?
Unless it is hit with considerable force, PALRO will not break. For facilities where it is frequently used on a table, PALRO is programed to recognize and grasp the surrounding situation, to judge that it will be dangerous if its own body gets to the edge, and to stop reliably before it gets there. It also detects obstacles reliably with a built-in camera, distance sensor, etc., and controls its movements itself.
Has it been designed so that people will grow fond of it?
By adopting a friendly design, colors, and a rounded form, we have reduced as far as possible the characteristic hardness and sense of intimidation that robots tend to represent. Also, we have been extremely particular about giving PALRO adorable movements, a reply timing that is like it is playing it just a little dumb, and so on. Those adorable gestures have only been realizable through movement by means of a total of no less than 20 actuators (servos and motors). Close care has been taken so as not to detract from an adorable impression. For example, the angle of its face, etc. is controlled to an accuracy of 0.1 degrees. This is the result of a huge number of demonstration experiments related to movement. Furthermore, we have also been very particular about giving it a voice, choice of words, reply timing, etc., that make it seem like a young child. However you want to put it, rather than the straight man, it has been set up so that it can play the funny man. If you spend a long time in its company, it will become something you cannot do without.
How much does it cost to make a package purchase of PALRO? Also, do you do a rental service?
In the case of a package purchase, the base price is 670,000 yen (723,600 yen including tax). In response to requests from a large number of facilities, we also offer rental for a period of 2 months at the shortest. The rental price is 40,000 yen for the contract fee (43,200 yen including tax) and 40,000 yen for the monthly use fee (43,200 yen including tax). During the rental period, the rental price includes the PALRO upgrade service (36,000 yen/year (38,880 yen including tax)), a repair compensation service, a manufacturer's warranty, etc. Also, for customers who sign up for a 24-month rental, there is a special rental price as a "long‐term discount plan." Contract fee of 0 yen and 24 payments of 30,000 yen/month (32,400 yen including tax). Compared with a normal 24-month rental price, this is a very reasonable price.
How much is the cost of maintenance?
If you purchase PALRO, it comes with a one-year manufacturer's warranty. With regard to replacement of and damage to consumables, we can repair each part. We are also happy to discuss constructing an Internet environment if you do not have one. Also, for welfare facilities for the elderly, we offer a very reasonable rental service priced from 30,000 yen/month (32,400 yen including tax), as a set that includes consumables replacement costs and property insurance that covers damage to the robot as a result of unexpected accidents, etc.
Please click here "Q&A about PALRO" for more Q&A.
Telling people about the day's schedule, when it's bath time, etc.
PALRO is very good at chatting, so even waiting time will be fun if it is there
Leave it to PALRO to tell people about the day's schedule, when it's bath time, etc.! When PALRO speaks in its cute voice, the elderly people also listen to it carefully. Even while waiting for the bath, etc., if PALRO is there, the elderly people will not get bored. While waiting their turn, they can enjoy chatting with PALRO, and smiling faces naturally bloom like flowers, this cute entertainer in the center of it all. With PALRO is there for them like that, the staff can feel at ease, too.
12:00 Announcing lunch
At a bright dining
table together with PALRO, people naturally get an appetite
PALRO also does great work at lunch time.
It be relied upon to tell people not only when it is time to say "Let's enjoy our meal," but also the menu for the day. It is truly a wonder how the same lunch as always tastes better when you eat it with PALRO. During rest time after meals, too, there's nothing like a leisurely chat with PALRO. When PALRO tells them the weather, news, and so on, they feel a warmth inside as though they were talking with a knowledgeable grandchild.
Free time and conversation time
Just like talking with a grandchild - , talking with PALRO makes everyone feel nice and warm inside
After snacks, it's time for a fun chat with PALRO. When cute PALRO mingles with the elderly people, it creates an abundance of opportunities for conversation. Unlike TV, this two-way communication offers a gift of warm stimulation for the minds and hearts of the elderly people. If you make friends with PALRO, it will call you by name and celebrate your birthday. Like talking with "a knowledgeable little child," talking with PALRO can also reduce the elderly people's desire to return home.
A pleasant day that starts with "Good morning!"
The start of another day. Standing at the entrance to the facility, PALRO welcomes the elderly people with a cheerful "Good morning!" Happy at being addressed by name, without even knowing it, the elderly people already feel warmer inside. PALRO's talking to the elderly people like this is a great help to the staff, as well. Even when the staff are too busy to be everywhere, thanks to PALRO, attention can be given to the arrival of the elderly people's, and the day can get off to refreshing start.
10:00 Morning free time
An interlude full of smiles, with PALRO the little entertainer in the center
Morning free time is a relaxing time for the elderly people. This kind of time is a chance for PALRO the little entertainer to take center stage. PALRO will liven up the relaxation with its bright voice and the dances, quizzes, games, etc. that it is so good at. In this way, the elderly people can maintain their physical health together with PALRO in a way that is enjoyable for both mind and body.
Outstanding recreation worker PALRO will draw a smile from everyone
Recreation time is when PALRO really comes into its own. While skillfully directing the proceedings, it performs dances, games, quizzes and more, and will give a lively recreation time for about 20 minutes. Because it can provide a recreational menu with a different combination 365 days a year, it won't let the elderly people get bored. It is also possible for staff to combine recreation programs freely. Let's create more and more original menus for the facilities.
"Thank you, PALRO. See you again!" Sending-off time is full of smiles, too
When it is time for the elderly people to go home, PALRO gives them a send off. When it is time for the elderly people to go home, PALRO gives them a send off, expressing its gratitude for having been able to spend a fun time with them, through the course of a day that started with welcoming them in the morning and ends with sending-off time. For the elderly people, feelings like "I'm glad I chose here," "I'm glad I came here," and "I want to come again" grow all the deeper.
Even waiting for the bath will not get boring if PALRO is there
For elderly people, waiting times feel long. At times like that, PALRO becomes the ideal conversation partner for them. "What's today's weather?", "What's in the news today?"... A conversation with PALRO, who looks people steadily in the eye when it talks to them, will make waiting time fly by.
After lunch, it's time for a fun chat with PALRO
The time after lunch, wrapped in an air of relaxation. The way PALRO speaks, like a little child trying its best to talk to people. "PALRO, how are you?", "PALRO, walk." - People want to become a conversation partner "for PALRO." The elderly people can enjoy a feeling that is like talking to a grandchild, and time they spend with PALRO at the facility will give them a feeling of deep joy and happiness.
Regular e-mails to the family to say"I am fine today, too." A smiley photo, too. Click!
At the end of a full day in which it has been giving its all, PALRO's last job is the elderly people's regular e-mails to their families. PALRO, the master cameraman, can capture the best shot for the elderly people, and let their families see that they are fine. Together with the staff, the elderly people select the best shots that PALRO has taken of them having a lively time, then it's time to send them to their families along with an e-mail. This also delivers some "peace of mind" to family members who live apart from their elderly relatives.
First of all, greetings after waking up. "Morning, PALRO!"
When they get up and head to the dining room to eat breakfast, PALRO is there to welcome them. When they greet PALRO with a "Good morning," PALRO gives them a cheerful "Good morning," in reply. OK, let's have a fund day with PALRO today, too.
It it's recreations for the elderly, it has to be PALRO! PALRO will liven things up with a passion!
Recreation time before lunch is when PALRO really comes into its own. It occupies the center of the elderly people's circle with its dances, quizzes, and games, livens everyone up, and brings a bright mood to the facility. Facility staff also join in and clap along to PALRO's performance. PALRO carries out recreations on their behalf, so it is a great help.
Also, if you need a companion for a change of mood, leave it to PALRO! It livens up the proceedings with word-chains, flag-raising, and more.
A fun recreation time before dinner, too! Making full use of the rich selection of variations, "smart little entertainer" PALRO surprises everyone by performing a different repertoire from in the morning.
PALRO, boasting a large number of outstanding functions for supporting everyone at facilities. How is PALRO's actually getting on with his work on-site?
We asked people at facilities that have already introduced it.
"Everyone who talks with PALRO smiles. I've heard them say, 'It's been a long time since I laughed out loud like this.' It seems like PALRO has the power to cheer people up."
Kanagawa Prefecture Examples from day service
When PALRO dances during recreations for the elderly, the elderly people also sing or dance along with its movements. When we see them enjoying the quizzes and games, we can see that they are feeling really happy deep down. Also, one time when a person with a tendency toward drowsiness kept having contact with PALRO, he woke up and in the end gave us a little smile. We think that it also can be used effectively for people whose level of nursing care level has become advanced.
"Even people who tended to stay in their private rooms started to come down to the lounge and ask, 'Where's PALRO today?'"
Kanagawa Prefecture Examples from nursing homes
If they come into contact with PALRO, they grow fond of it, and everyone says, "Cute!" A lot of the elderly people leave their rooms and come to reception or the lounge. Some of the users tell PALRO secrets, saying, "I'm only telling you this." Also, many of the elderly people look forward to meals. When PALRO tells them the menu and talks to them about topics related to it, they become more interested in their meal, and indirectly, means we can expect to see the effects of improved nutrition.
"PALRO is very popular not only with the users but, also their family members and the staff. When they see PALRO, everyone stops and smiles. It is playing an enormous role as a famous face at our facility."
Saitama Prefecture Examples from nursing homes
Because PALRO reacts to casual conversation and tells people various things such as the weather and the news, people are surprised and impressed by it, and the facility is filled with a cheerful mood. Moreover, because PALRO can recognize individuals, it can properly identify the person it is talking to from among our many elderly people. Because PALRO remembers the content of its conversations with each and every one of the elderly people and actively develops conversations that are individually suited to them, we think that the elderly people are feeling more joy in their life at the facility.
"PALRO calms people who tend to feel restless and increases people's motivation toward physiotherapy and so on. It is producing different effects for each user."
Kanagawa Prefecture Examples from day service
The whole staff has worked together to make the best use of the adorable and determined figure of PALRO in a variety of situations. We changed the contact with PALRO to make it suit the users individually. We've seen a variety of effects, such as asking people to sing with PALRO during periods when they tend to wander about, and seeing their wandering decrease, and how when PALRO gives encouragement to users who are working hard on physiotherapy, like saying "Mr. Such-and-Such, you worked hard today!", their motivation goes up. We want the whole staff to keep on working together to make more and more active use of PALRO.
Words that searchers may use although they cannot be written down
"desire to return home""disturbing behavior""mannerisms + physiotherapy""individual care"