"Carmen" is the first robot to "fight" memory loss in people "Carmen" is the first robot to "fight" memory loss in people

"Carmen" is the first robot to "fight" memory loss in people

"Carmen" is the first robot to "fight" memory loss in people

A team of researchers has developed a small, tabletop robot designed to help people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

The device, called Carmen (short for Cognitive Assistant Robot for Neurostimulation and Rehabilitation), helps patients learn skills to improve memory, attention and executive functioning at home.

The research team at the University of California, San Diego, developed the robot in consultation with physicians, individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and their care partners.

The researchers claim that Carmen is the only robot that can provide compensatory cognitive techniques, which can enhance memory and executive function.

Carmen combines a tablet computer and a social robot platform to facilitate multimedia communication, and was developed by the research team using the University of Washington's Flexi robot as a basis.

The researchers programmed Carmen to deliver a series of simple cognitive training exercises, including games and interactive activities designed to help participants develop useful habits and strategies.

For example, a developed bot can teach users how to create designated places for important items such as keys, or adopt effective note-taking techniques to remember important information.

As part of the testing procedure, Carmen was made available for a week in the homes of several patients with mild cognitive impairment. The researchers asked the robot to perform various duties for patients, including setting regular locations to leave household items and scheduling tasks so they would not be forgotten.

“We found that ‘Carmen’ gave participants confidence to use cognitive strategies in their daily lives, and participants saw that the robot could be used in other applications,” the researchers said in a statement.

The team looks forward to making Carmen available in more homes, enhancing its conversational capabilities while ensuring privacy. 

MCI is a transitional condition between normal aging and dementia, affecting memory, attention, and executive functioning, among other aspects of cognitive performance.

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