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Robots 'could help care for old'

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Robots could play a crucial role in improving the lives of the elderly and disabled, experts say

Robots could play a crucial role in improving the lives of the elderly and disabled, experts say

Robots could play a crucial role in improving the lives of the elderly and disabled, experts say

Most people are yet to recognise the potential for robots to improve quality of life for the elderly or infirm, a survey has suggested.

Just a third (33%) of people asked said they would consider using a robot to assist an elderly or disabled relative, while 17% said they would not consider using robots at all.

Robots are being developed for use in hospitals and to help people in their homes with tasks such as dispensing medicines and aiding with mobility.

William Webb, president of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), which commissioned the survey, said healthcare is a particularly important area of robotics research as the challenges of an ageing population and increasing demands on health budgets mean that providers require new ways to deliver care cost-effectively.

Other ways the technology can be used range from automated trolleys and wheelchairs through to health monitoring systems, automated surgical equipment and humanoid "nurse robots".

Mr Webb said: "Robots have the potential to play a crucial role in improving the lives of people, particularly the elderly and those with disabilities.

"But we need to make people aware of the huge benefits robotics can provide while addressing their concerns about loss of personal contact and a natural reluctance to embrace new technologies, so that we can make smarter use of this technology to help people manage health conditions and stay independent for longer."

The survey saw 2,023 adults questioned last month.