Living with the animals: animal or robotic companions for the elderly in smart homes?

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Abstract

Although the use of pet robots in senior living facilities and day-care centres, particularly for individuals suffering from dementia, has been intensively researched, the question of introducing pet robots into domestic settings has been relatively neglected. Ambient assisted living (AAL) offers many interface opportunities for integrating motorised companions. There are diverse medical reasons, as well as arguments from animal ethics, that support the use of pet robots in contrast to living with live animals. However, as this paper makes clear, we should not lose sight of the option of living with animals at home for as long as possible and in conformity with the welfare of the animal assisted by AAL technology.

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