We're still a few years away from having robots operate on us, but the next best thing is having a robot receptionist tell us which way to go. Two hospitals in Belgium, are employing robots to assist in exercise sessions and help children overcome their fears in surgery, sometimes going to the theater with them. They can apparently detect human emotions and understand if they are speaking to a man, woman or child. Hospitals are one of the most important places where human contact and reassurance is needed. With the healthcare system under stress, and people receiving less and less time with nurses, are these robots a good idea? Can they really reassure patients that everything will be OK?
Pepper, the humanoid robot programmed to "understand" human emotions, is to take a new job - as a receptionist in two Belgian hospitals. It will be the robot's first foray into healthcare after previous deployments in shopping centres, banks and train stations. One hospital plans to deploy more robots over the next 10 years. Some experts have questioned the usefulness of social robots such as Pepper.