Belgium Testing Patients’ Reactions to Robot Receptionists in Hospitals

Published by , June 20, 2016 3:47 am

(ZyroRobotics)   Belgium’s Citadelle regional hospital in Liège and the Damiaan general hospital in Ostend will be testing patients’ reactions to robot receptionists in the coming months. The robots will be greeting patients and giving them directions. Zora Robotics is programming Pepper robots from SoftBank subsidiary AldebaranRobots for the study. Pepper robots are already on duty as receptionists in Japanese hotels, where visitors are likely to be less nervous and more familiar with their surroundings than those arriving at a hospital.
The study will begin by putting a robot in each hospital, initially for a couple of hours a week as it gathers data on the robots’ performance, then gradually increasing their presence. In the first phase, the robot will just welcome people. The robot will then tell the patient where her appointment is and explain, perhaps using videos, how to get there. In the second phase of development, the robot could accompany the visitor to her destination.

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