It is what it is, i.e., a therapy robot for adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s. It doesn’t “do” much, it doesn’t have to in order to be effective as a therapy tool. The Paro seal is even more inert (and cost a fortune) and yet they say it is effective. I believe that the tick to the question is something in the avatar has to stimulate a response in patient. The avatar has to give a cue, it can be visual, auditory, tactile, olfactory, that triggers an emotional response.
One of the sweetest ladies in the residence where I volunteer has a stuffed doll that works the treat for her. I use the Pleo with 50/50 success, when it clicks with someone its magic to watch, when it doesn’t, I have to catch it in midair or replace the neck cables after a “strangulation” attempt.
There is no silver bullet for patients with dementia, anyone who tries to reach out to help them needs a lot of “tools” in their tool bag, namely empathy, patience, and affection.
I would love one of these guys for the residence, mainly for the soft and cuddly side as the Pleo is too reptile and rubbery for some, but I struggle to buy 70 euro Pleos, and the 300 dollar Tombot pledge starters are almost sold out.
Time will tell if they got it right!