PARO sent to shelters for psychological support 2011.04.23
PARO helps communication between refugees and supporters.
Reported by: Dr. Takanori Sibata, Senior Researcher, AIST.
The therapeutic robot, PARO, helped refugees of the Iwaki City, Fukusima Prefecture, from the earthquake and nuclear disaster, to communicate with the staff and supporters at the Doho Park Gymnasium in Tsukuba City from April 7th to its closing on April 17th. The service manager placed PARO on a desk so that everyone could enjoy interacting with the robot. Communication with PARO brought smiles to the faces of refugees, who had rarely showed grins. The manager was pleased to see increased communication among refugees and supporters, and hoped PARO would stay longer. PARO also joined in exercise routines. The following photo shows the message refugees left on the white board on the final day:
PARO’s visit was proposed by Dr. Shibata to Ibaragi Prefecture and Tsukuba City who manage and support refugees. In addition to Tsukuba City, PARO also visited the following places:
- Tokyo Budokan in Adachi-ku,
- Intermediate Nursing Home (a shelter) in Yokohama City,
- Cycle Hall in Chiba City, and
- Takigashira Hall in Yokohama City.
PARO is planning to visit Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture , Todoroki Arena in Kawasaki City, and other places. Permissions of the municipal governments and the social welfare councils, etc. are necessary in order for implementing PARO in many shelters. At AIST, Dr. Shibata is preparing the user’s manual so that anyone can use PARO, in case a service manager operates PARO at each shelter.
Kazuki Wada and Kaoru Inoue, Assistant Professors, Tokyo Metropolitan University
Daiwa House Industry Co. Ltd. (for arrangements of visiting refuges, etc.)
Dr. Takanori Shibata, AIST