Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are investigating how art therapy delivered via a mobile app and pet therapy with a robotic dog can affect the well-being and mental health of hearing-impaired patients.
All patients in the pilot study will receive a tablet, create artwork based on app prompts, and then report their mood. Half of the patients in the study will additionally receive a robotic dog to interact with.
Claudia B. Rebola, PhD, Associate Dean for Research, Associate Professor, and Director of the new DAAP Center for Research and Innovation (CDRI) in Health and Wellness at the College of Design, Architecture, Art and planning at the University of Cincinnati, told the Journal-News that patients can quickly develop attachments to robotic dogs just as they do with real furry friends.
“And although you know it’s an animal robotic agent – it’s not a real dog – you attach feelings to it, in terms of routines and interactions, and you expect a bark in response to, let’s say I turn on the lights, and then the dog barks, like saying ‘hello.’ So you quickly develop a sense of presence with these robots in your life,” she said.
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Learn more about the study.
Featured photo at the top of the robotic dog. Photo/Ravenna Rutledge/University of Cincinnati.