Moving towards a healthy robotic future

September 08, 2017

Dr Vibhay Raykar Sally Thomas, Jonathan Kinglsey, Robyn Jones and Paul Jones with Brainary's training NAO robot (blue) and the newly purchased NAO robot (red).

Brainary's training NAO robot (blue) and GV Health's newly purchased NAO robot (red) at yesterday's launch.

Health in the Goulburn Valley has taken a step into the future after a newly acquired NAO robot was launched yesterday to help GV Health in its research, education and training.

The Goulburn Valley Area Mental Health Consumer and Carer Advisory Council raised $33000 in the past two years to buy the robot as well as programs to load onto NAO.

GV Health carer consultant Robyn Jones was instrumental in kickstarting the fundraising.

‘‘One of our clinicians saw (NAO) at a conference,’’ Ms Jones said.

‘‘And it went on her wish list, so the advisory council put out expressions of interests for fundraising.’’

Ms Jones said the major donors had been the Freemasons, Bendigo Bank’s Connected Communities Grants and Give Me 5 For Kids. The advisory council also raised $5000 selling cookbooks at GV Health.

Brainary’s Jonathan Kingsley attended the launch and provided guests with a demonstration of how NAO worked.

‘‘The whole unit is fully customisable,’’ he said.

Mr Kingsley said this would be the first unit to be used in the Goulburn Valley and there were currently about 200 in use in Australia.

NAO will be loaded with programs to assist those on the autism spectrum and in the pediatric ward.

Mr Kingsley said there were many reasons why NAO was helpful when it came to dealing with children as well as those on the autism spectrum.

‘‘It can provide consistency with its size and nature, which makes it less intimidating,’’ Mr Kingsley said, adding those on the autism spectrum respond well to technology. ‘‘It’s a fantastic tool for human therapists.’’

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