Social robot MATLDA

For the ageing population, especially those suffering with dementia, living the day-to-day life can become lonely and isolated.  This is the issue that Human Centred Innovations (HCI) Pty. Ltd. addresses with their social robot service package, Matlda


Image: Matlda with Professor Rajiv Khosla

Matlda is powered by a hardware platform manufactured by NEC Japan, and uses intelligent software services developed by HCI through nine years of research at RECCSI, La Trobe University.

In contrast In contrast to other social robots offered in the market for aged care, Matlda provides human-like engagement and sensory enrichment with her cute appearance and user-friendly interactivity. Nine-years of research went into the service design with researchers working directly with aged care professionals and their clients. Matlda also provides multilingual lifestyle centred services, and for individuals whose grasp of second or third languages has deteriorated with age, this can help bring them out of isolation.

Additional features include singing and dancing to a person’s favourite tunes, reading books and stories aloud, playing cognitive games, doing personalised memory photo quizzes, enriching communication by assisting in sending text and voice messages and so on. With the capacity to connect with a range of devices like tablet or TV and smart sensors (e.g., Fitbit) Matlda can also collect health-related data for healthcare analytics.

Over 35 trials have been conducted in aged care facilities, nursing homes, hospitals and private dwellings. The findings of a study from 2010 to 2013 with 115 residents living in four residential aged care facilities were published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction. The study found significant improvements in the 'emotional engagement, visual engagement and behavioural engagement' of the residents.

In addition to aged care, Matlda has applications in several contexts, ranging from health care, autism, education to human resource management.

HCI Director, Professor Rajiv Khosla has a multidisciplinary background in management, engineering and computer science. His passion lies in designing and delivering socially innovative systems and services that create a more sustainable and humane society.

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[Source: Tina Tian Marketing Relations Officer, Human Centred Innovations]