Nadine the robot
Are robots like Nadine (pictured) who has been developed to provide care for the elderly going to be running the world? In picture: Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Professor Nadia Thalmann (L) and Nadine, a humanoid that she and her team created, take questions during an interview with Reuters at their campus in Singapore.Reuters

Her name is Nadine and while she may have an expressive face, soft skin, light brown hair and will hold conversations with you, she's not human. Nadine — who looks almost exactly like her creator, Nadia Thalmann, a visiting professor and director of Singapore's Nanyang Technological University's Institute of Media Innovation — could be the future of geriatric care.

Likely to fill the role of a health-care provider, Nadine stands 1.7-metres tall and the software programmed into her allows her to express a range of emotions and even recall past conversations. While she's not commercially available at the moment, Thalmann believes robots like Nadine could very soon provide care to patients suffering from dementia and other mental illnesses.

"If you leave these people alone they will be going down very quickly," Reuters quoted Thalmann as saying. "So these people need to always be in interaction." She added that Nadine could also tell a story or play a simple game.

Thalmann also stated that her team is working on an emotive robot designed to interact with children. While the child robot is yet to reach a prototype stage, Thalmann believes that aside from answering questions and playing games, the robot could also keep an eye on the child and inform a parent or a nanny if something goes wrong. It can even recognise people and remember the child's likes and dislikes.

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