For Disney fans, healthbots may invoke images of EVE, a
character in the robot film WALL-E.
These robots designed for the health sector are not rigid and
mechanical, but seem to have some personality, and are a
little bit cute.
Throughout our interview with the electronic health worker
yesterday, Sparky seems to follow the conversation,
swivelling its head towards each speaker, even at background
noise when conversation has halted.
Martin Little, a senior technician at Focus Technology Group,
lifts up one of the healthbots.
''I'm scared - put me down,'' repeats Sparky until safely
back on the table, causing much amusement.
As well as monitoring the health of patients, Sparky can also
be used for entertainment, playing music videos and dancing.
Each robot is entered with its assigned patient's details to
monitor their health.
The small robot talks back to patients, reminds them to take
medication, meanders around the room and provides some
Small circular stickers can be placed on the ground,
providing a path for the healthbot to follow, if a regular
route is needed.
Using wireless internet and the robot's webcam, users can
videochat to both doctors and family members via Skype, and a
calendar function can provide reminders for medical
appointments, and when patients should be taking their
Gore Health chief executive Karl Metzler said the interaction
with elderly residents was one of the positive spin-off
results from the healthbots.
''It's early days, but the potential is enormous.''