robotic seal image

North Yorkshire County Council is exploring the option of rolling out dementia-friendly robotic seals – which have been nicknamed “Yorkie” – across North Yorkshire to improve residents’ well-being.

The news, as seen in The Scarborough News, comes as part of the Council’s ongoing discussions about the roll-out of increased and improved assistive technology across North Yorkshire.

Developed in Japan in 2004, the robotic seals can help combat cognitive decline amongst dementia patients. The innovative robots can also improve socialisation, boost people’s mood, stimulate interactions, and reduce stress and anxiety amongst patients.

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The robotic seals contain five sensors which can detect touch, light, sound, temperature and posture, meaning they can recognise light and dark as well as understand when it’s being petted or held. Additionally, the seals can recognise the direction of voice and words such as its name, greetings, and praise via its audio sensor.

In a report presented to the council’s care and independence scrutiny committee, it stated: “Yorkie seems to have a great impact on people’s outcomes.

“Trials across the world have been found to reduce stress, stimulate interaction between people and carers, and has been shown to have a psychological effect on people, improving their relaxation and motivation and reducing challenging behaviour.”

Charity Dementia Forward will begin a three-month trial of the robots in the near future, which will evaluate the impact of the robots on patients’ well-being.

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