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Dementia Awareness Week

Robotic companion pet


Bield tenants in West Lothian have found the ‘paw-fect’ companion in an innovative robotic dog!

Finding its home at the Bield Tech Hub within our West Port development in Linlithgow, the robotic companion pet brings joy to all ages, but especially those with Alzheimer's and dementia.

This Dementia Awareness Week, we wish to highlight the unique ways in which those living with dementia can still find joy from furry friends, which aim to improve wellbeing and combat social isolation. 

The robotic dog has a soft fur coat and makes authentic animal sounds and natural motions, like head lifting and tail wagging, in response to petting and hugging. It has been designed to look and feel like a real pet, but without the need to be fed, walked, groomed, or taken to the vet. 

Gary Baillie, Head of BR24 and Assistive Technology at Bield said: "This robot pup is one of the most loved pieces of tech we have in the Bield Tech Hub, the tenants across Bield love coming to see it.

"We’ve all seen the positive impact this has brought to our tenants and the genuine smiles that it brings to the faces of both tenants and staff is wonderful to see.  Companionship is vital for everyone, so we’re not surprised it has gone down a treat. Now we just need to figure out a name for it!

“At Bield, we’re always looking for ways we can harness the power of technology to provide care - not just to our tenants, but to the broader community as well."

The incredibly lifelike 'Companion Pet', designed to combat social isolation and cognitive decline, was first introduced to the hub in 2023. The animatronic dog provides engaging interaction through built-in sensors that respond to motion and touch with realistic movements and behaviours, fostering a sense of companionship for individuals of all ages and cognitive abilities. 

We have been leading the way in tech-enabled independent living approaches through our participation in the Technology for our Ageing Population: Panel for Innovation (TAPPI) project. Following our success in securing £75,000 in funding, we co-designed the innovative digital tech hub at West Port with tenants to showcase our commitment to revolutionising the use of technology in the housing and care sectors.

The hub features six spaces – two bedrooms with bathrooms, a kitchen and a living space – all equipped with various cutting-edge technologies such as predictive analytics devices, smart drinking cups that track fluid intake, 4D tracking systems and the companion pet.

The TAPPI project, spearheaded by the Housing Learning and Improvement Network (Housing LIN) and the TEC Services Association (TSA), and funded by The Dunhill Medical Trust, aims to advance how technology is utilised in housing and care settings for older adults.