Wollongong retiree David Robson has caught a glimpse of the future and he likes what he sees.
The IRT Links Seaside Wollongong resident was selected to test drive an Ohmni telepresence robot in his home.
David nominated his son Peter Robson to be able to securely access the robot remotely in order to spend time with him and check on his welfare.
"Dad has been really stoked to have the robot. We've had a lot of fun with it. It follows him around his home and out onto the balcony where I can see the view that Dad is seeing. It's like having a window that looks right into Dad's world," Peter said.
The robot was loaned to IRT by Canberra-based Robots 4 Good in the midst of the pandemic last year to test how the technology could help overcome social-isolation and uninterrupted access to care for home care customers during lockdown.
"If you want to see what the future of ageing in place looks like, telepresence robots could well be part of it," IRT group executive general manager of home care, Ross Gallagher said.
"The robot has applications from a social connectivity perspective and a caring perspective. We're really excited about it."
David has hosted the robot, which he has fondly named Bluey, in his home since late August..
During this time he has also tested out Bluey with his IRT Home Care manager who conducted his annual home care review remotely using an encrypted dial in link to the robot.
The robot is a wheeled device that family and carers can remotely control to move around the home.
It has a wide-angle camera on a screen with a tilting neck to ensure a wider field of view than you would have using a handheld device or computer.
The robot also doesn't require David to hold or press anything and auto-docks onto a charging station after calls.
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