The dementia robot which helps find keys, book holidays and talk about weather

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Mario features cutting-edge technology, including a panic button and a 3D sensor
He can make small-talk about the weather, help you find your keys and prompt reminiscences of family holidays.
And Mario the robot has just one mission in life: to help people suffering from dementia.
The £15,000 device is now being tested in the homes of a handful of British patients, in the hope that it could eventually revolutionise the way sufferers are cared for.
Mario is designed to help keep his companion’s mind active – and to help stave off the loneliness that is linked to dementia.
But critics have questioned whether a robot can ever be an adequate substitute for genuine human contact.
Mario is being tested with people in the early stages of dementia in Stockport, Greater Manchester.
Andy Bleaden, the council official responsible for the pilot scheme, explained that the robot is being developed to engage with people on a deeper level than simply providing information such as the time, weather and forthcoming events.
He said: ‘We want to bring in a reminiscence tool that uses pictures from family photographs, weddings, holidays.’
Mario is also fitted with a sensor that it can use to find lost personal items such a TV remote control, keys and reading glasses, and it can call for emergency help if needed.
But its main aim is to provide companionship. More than a third of those suffering from dementia admit to feeling lonely, while one study found that elderly people who suffer loneliness have a 64 per cent greater risk of dementia.
Mario can already offer films, TV programmes and music through a touchscreen computer on his chest, but the aim is for him to engage in natural conversation.

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