NATIONAL

Danes sought to talk to robots

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Dec 25, 2011 - 17:53
  • Updated : Dec 25, 2011 - 17:53
Danish people in Seoul are being sought to communicate with Korean robots designed to help exercise older people’s brains.

The Danish Embassy has published a plea from the Korea Institute of Science and Technology for native Danish speakers to come forward to help test its hi-tech prototypes.

Native-speaking Danes who are also able to communicate in English are sought to help out for 3-4 days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. from now until Jan. 13. 
KIST’s SILBOT (right) and MERO robots (KIST)

The KIST center for intelligent robotics wishes to review the robots’ translated Danish speech.

The Robot Cognition Training Program is designed to play cognition training games to help them improve their memories and other skills.

The robots are already being piloted in the Scandinavian country, but scientists wish to confirm that the robots’ speech is suitable allow it to play games and communicate with older Danish people.

The SILBOT and MERO robots are being tested at an elder care facility in Aarhus, Denmark’s second-largest city, as a way to offer educational services to users without employing many expensive specialist staff. Users perform tasks such as making the Silbot robot move in a certain pattern on a checkered floor or following a rhythm it produces.

Danish occupational therapist Brigite Halte was convinced such exercises would improve the elderly users’ daily lives.

“Here it is necessary to be absolutely focused, and I can see in everyday life that it is good to be focused on specific things,” she told Danish news media after observing center users testing the technology.

“To begin with they weren’t that focused on the exercises but now they are doing brain programs every time they come here.”

And Danish retiree Olaf Christensen, who tried out the programs, said: “I have experienced that I get better at remembering numbers and such things.”

The pilot project sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy has also been held in Helsinki, Finland, in the hope of suggesting new methodology for the European elderly welfare system.

It is hoped they could also be used in Korea and the U.S. if the advanced intelligent robots integrate successfully with Europe’s substantial welfare infrastructure.

Specialists from Samsung Medical Center in Seoul have also been analyzing participants’ improvement in cognitive abilities, concentration and concentration after playing the robot games, in comparison to improvements seen by people trained by human teachers.

Director of Center for Intelligent Robotics Kim Mun-sang said that the KIST elder care robots can cut elder care centers’ rising hiring costs.

For more information go to www.kist.re.kr. To apply to help out in the program email Park Young-ho at s80831@kist.re.kr or call (02) 958-6984.

By Kirsty Taylor (kirstyt@heraldcorp.com)