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Care robot Hyodol provides daily structure and a hug

Published on: 19-12-2023

The Hyodol is a smart social robot from South Korea, developed for older people with dementia. Together with employees of De Haagse Hogeschool, knowledge organisation Vilans has used focus groups with care workers and older people to map the possible uses of the Hyodol in Dutch elder care. This showed, among other things, that the Hyodol can be used in home care with expected positive effects on the independence of the client and reduction of loneliness, but there also seem to be opportunities for the use of the Hyodol both in an institutional setting and in disability care.

Bob Hofstede is a researcher at Vilans. He says, “The Hyodol is an innovation we came across in South Korea. It is a social buddy that offers support in daily structure but also collects data via sensors. Through a dashboard and an application on the smartphone, care workers and informal caregivers can gain insight into the robot’s use, send messages and set functions in a personalised way. It can respond to touch and speak kind words, provide support for healthy living, provide information to older people, play recorded messages and stimulate cognitive ability.”

Digital Care Knowledge Bank

Robot animals and other experiential technologies were recently added to the Digital Care Knowledge Bank. The Digital Care Knowledge Bank is a central platform for knowledge exchange on digital care in which we share independent information on different types of care technology with attention given to the hard and soft costs, as well as the benefits and to whom they apply.

Experiences of clients and employees

Hofstede says of the survey: “There was a lot of enthusiasm from healthcare institutions to participate in this short survey. In conversation with clients and care workers we collected a lot of information. Clients liked the robot and immediately started interacting with it. They saw the robot as a buddy and would like it if the robot talked to them and sang with them. Older people found that the robot could also be used for comfort and reassurance and against loneliness.  As for the staff who participated in the exploration, most were also enthusiastic. ‘The clothes, colours and size were to their liking. The robot is soft which makes it good to cuddle, but this also raises questions about hygiene. Finally, some care workers thought the robot was childish, so it might not be suitable for use with every client.’

Where can the Hyodol be used?

At first glance, care workers in elder care see opportunities for both home care and deployment at institutions. In addition to elder care, there is also a lot of enthusiasm from disability care.

More information

  • Visit the Smart Care Relay (Slimme Zorg Estafette). The Smart Care relay is an event organised on behalf of the Ministry of Health, Welfare & Sport (VWS and focuses on innovation in care, well-being and prevention. It takes place from January 29 to February 23, 2024 throughout the Netherlands.
  • Download the brochure: Hyodol care robot – explorations in Dutch care

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