DEC 13, 2020 6:36 PM PST

Can Robots Replace Therapy Dogs?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Could robots replace therapy dogs? A new study by researchers at the University of Portsmouth may indicate so. "This preliminary study has found that biomimetic robots -- robots that mimic animal behaviours -- may be a suitable replacement in certain situations and there are some benefits to using them over a real dog,” says Dr. Leanne Proops, from the Department of Psychology.

It is no secret that animals, particular dogs, have therapeutic benefits for children and adults.

"We know that real dogs can provide calming and enjoyable interactions for children -- increasing their feelings of wellbeing, improving motivation and reducing stress.

Findings were published in The International Journal of Social Robotics and discusses the robotic therapeutic replacement animal known as 'MiRo-E'.

Learn more about therapy dogs:

"Although lots of people in schools and hospitals benefit greatly from receiving visits from a therapy dog, we have to be mindful of the welfare of the therapy dog. Visits can be stressful and incredibly tiring for therapy dogs, meaning that we should be exploring whether using a robotic animal is feasible."

MiRo-E can just be as effective and even be a better alternative to therapy dogs.

"This is a small-scale study, but the results show that interactive robotic animals could be used as a good comparison to live dogs in research, and a useful alternative to traditional animal therapy."

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
BS/MS
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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