"Sota®" experiment - communication robot for stay-at-home elderly - begins

- Assessment of effects on improvement of elderly life -

May 16, 2017

NTT DATA Corporation

On May 17, NTT DATA Corporation and EnviroLife Research Institute Co., Ltd. will launch an experiment of the communication robot “Sota®” to assess its effects on the improvement of elderly life in ordinary homes, etc.

Based on the results of this experiment, a product using a communication robot for improving elderly life and reducing the burdens on family members living with them and nursing care staff will be developed in order to achieve commercialization of this product by the end of fiscal year 2017.

Background

In 2025, Japanese society will have aged to such an extent that the elderly population is estimated to exceed 30% of the entire population, which means that the population of the elderly aged 65 or older is estimated to account for approximately 1/3 *1, and a lack of human resources in nursing care and an increase in nursing care at home are expected in the future.

To address this issue, NTT DATA has been examining nursing care support services using dialog between the communication robot and the elderly requiring nursing care. In cooperation with the Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer of Tohoku University, etc., JKK has been conducting surveys and research on the relationship between development and activation of the elderly brain and their home and lifestyle.

In this experiment, based on the hypothesis that the communication robot encourages the elderly to have conversations and contributes to their healthy life, the validity of the communication robot is examined.

Overview

A communication robot for the elderly developed by NTT DATA using “Sota®” of Vstone Co., Ltd. is introduced to and examined at houses sold by SEKISUI CHEMICAL CO., LTD. (hereinafter, “SEKISUI CHEMICAL”) and service-added homes for the elderly and day service facilities managed by Sekisui Oasis Co., Ltd. (hereinafter, “Sekisui Oasis”).

Experimental
period
  • May: Preliminary survey
  • June to August: Installation of robot and data acquisition
  • September and October: Data analysis and examination of effects
Experimental
sites
  • Individual homes (detached houses and service-added homes for the elderly)
  • Day service facility (oasis center)
Subjects
  • The elderly living in detached houses (independent and single households), residents of service-added homes for the elderly, and day service users (use of Long-Term Care Insurance)
Examination
items
  1. 1.Encouragement of elderly conversation and whether conversations have increased or decreased
  2. 2.Whether there are improvements in life (appetite, exercise (activity), sleep, and motivation)
  3. 3.Whether the communication robot is liked by the elderly
Figure

Figure 1. Image of conversation

Scheme

Managed by:

JKK (The Housing Research Institute for a Lifelong Healthy Brain)

In collaboration with:

  • NTT DATA (provision of communication robot and analysis of conversation contents)
  • Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer of Tohoku University and Edogawa University (guidance of the experimental method and various analyses)
  • SEKISUI CHEMICAL and Sekisui Oasis (provision of monitored homes and nursing care facilities)

Features of the communication robot

  • It is used by implementing technologies relating to “corevoTM*2 of NTT Laboratories and by connecting the “cloud robotics foundation” *3, which has voice recognition, conversation control, and voice synthesis features, to the Internet.
  • NTT DATA has developed a scenario by which the elderly can enjoy a conversation.
  • As there is a feature for making voice messages, such as “Please consume some water,” at certain times, the elderly can be encouraged to move around and be motivated to take action.
Figure

Figure 2. System configuration

Conversation, Eat, Exercise, and Sleep

“Conversation, Eat, Exercise, and Sleep” is a conceptual keyword used by JKK (The Housing Research Institute for a Lifelong Healthy Brain) to achieve a “lifelong healthy brain,” and the keyword stands for conversation/hobby, eat, exercise, and sleep. An increase in conversation leads to enjoyment of meals, being more active, and better sleep, which create a good cycle of life since such the cycle leads to a further increase in conversation.

This experiment is expected to demonstrate that encouragement of conversation contributes to improvement of the life of the elderly overall.

In the future

Based on the results of this experiment, a product using a communication robot for improving elderly life and reducing the burdens on family members living with them and nursing care staff will be developed in order to achieve commercialization of this product by the end of fiscal year 2017.

Notes

  • *1Source: “Population Projections for Japan (projections in 2017)” by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.
  • *2This is a generic term illustrating the efforts for using artificial intelligence (AI) developed from R&D and is a unified brand name of the NTT Group that is rapidly increasing collaboration with numerous partners.
  • *3The cloud robotics foundation is a foundation that correctly recognizes the user and the environmental details and performs highly intelligent processing by means of cooperation between robots and sensor devices and for which NTT DATA has been conducting research and development.
  • *“Sota” is a registered trademark of Vstone Co., Ltd.
  • *The other product, company, and organizational names are their respective trademarks or registered trademarks.

For more information, please contact:

Public Relations Department
NTT DATA Corporation
Tel: +81-3-5546-8051

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