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These Friendly Helpful Robots Will Likely Be Your Future Rehabilitation Partners

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Physical therapy with a socially assistive robot.

Socially assistive robots will be used increasingly in the future, according to researchers at Germany's Freiburg University.

Credit: Shelly Levy-Tzedek

A study by researchers at Freiburg University in Germany found that socially assistive robots (SARs) will be used increasingly in the future.

In response, the researchers outlined principles of effective SAR design to improve the technology's effectiveness.

SARs today typically are used to assist people with cognitive disabilities, people who require rehabilitation, and aging or elderly patients.

In a previous study, the researchers defined the most important components for effective SAR design as the robot's physical embodiment; personality; empathy; relative engagement with patients; adaptation (learning from an environment and quickly implementing those lessons), and transfer of long-term behavioral changes.

The researchers say those involved in SAR design must continue to discuss ways to improve the patient experience.

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