Robot dogs become ‘man’s best friend’ of individuals with Alzheimer’s illness and other types of dementia. Tom Stevens, an entrepreneur, submitted a test adaptation of the robotic yellow Labrador puppy to the inhabitants of a nursing home in Thousand Oaks, California. Stevens made a partnership with another company, founded by the late muppets creator, to make the robot performs realistic movements. Stevens thinks that the robot dog, that moves its head from side to side, grunts and wags its tail, is lifelong enough to assist individuals with dementia. It’s also simpler than a true dog to look after, he said. “It didn’t just have to look real and feel real but it had to behave realistically as well,” Stevens added.

The robot dog has 16 engines to regulate its movement and is loaded with sensors to react to spoken instructions. Also, it can identify human touches such as the distinction between a soft and hard caress. Stevens said that he developed the robot idea after his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011. Stevens had experience in developing robotics and he wished that the new technology would give companionship to people like his mother. “The dog is very interactive, the tail wagging, responding to them calling her name,” said Caroline Gibson, a spokeswoman from a nursing home. “It’s really amazing to watch them have a lot of ease and reduce anxiety.” She added. Stevens’ company plans to sell its first robot dogs in 2020.