Scientists from four different Universities delivered four robots – Fitbot, Beam, Tuturbot and Carebot – to families around the country, with Psychologist Dr Caroline Jay and robotics specialist, Professor Jonathan Rossiter watching their every move.
In a television first, this series follows six British families with different needs as they welcome robots into their homes, from helping them get fit to easing the burden of care and from helping them understand the world to teaching them how to enjoy it. Each robot assists a family with a specific need, but one that millions of us can relate to. How will they react? Will the robots actually work? And will the families want to keep them or switch them off at the end of the experiment?
Carebot designed to ease the burden of care, by carrying out simple tasks, spent two weeks with Neil and Linda Bowles in their Felixstowe home. Neil is a full-time carer to his wife Linda who was diagnosed with primary progress multiple sclerosis in 2000 and has been in wheelchair for the past 10 years.
Neil said “We had a lot of fun with the carebot, he assisted me to some extent with simple tasks and we had many interesting conversations with some hilarious joke telling. We are really looking forward to watching the two part documentary over the Christmas period as it should be very entertaining!”
Kirsten Alderson, CEO at Suffolk Family Carers who recommended Neil and Linda for the documentary added: “There are now over 78,000 identified unpaid carers living in Suffolk, if this ground breaking technology can interact with humans and enhance the lives of people in need, family carers lives could dramatically change in the future.”
The series reveals the very latest in robotics research – how the robots are made, how they operate and both the possibilities and limitations of how they work with humans. Following each families’ journeys from initial meeting to their deepening dependence on a robot, this eye-opening documentary showcases how all our lives could significantly change.
The documentary airs on BBC 2 on Wednesday 27th December at 8pm and Thursday 28th December at 8.30pm.