Toronto’s Humber River Hospital has partnered with SoftBank Robotics America (SBRA) to launch a new pilot program with Pepper the humanoid robot. This marks the first time a Canadian hospital has recruited a humanoid robot.
Pepper is a 4-foot (1.2-metre) tall humanoid robot that features large expressive eyes and lifelike movements and gestures, as well as a touchscreen tablet to help users interact with her.
Pepper has been placed in Humber River Hospital’s main entrance hall to greet, guide and engage with patients and visitors.
To help with this, Humber River’s Pepper will have dedicated features built specifically for her. With her interactive touch-screen display, visitors will be able to search for their loved ones, washrooms, exits and more. The robot will also answer commonly asked questions and can even dance, play games and take selfies with passersby.
“We are always working to elevate the patient and visitor experience at our hospital,” said Barbara Collins, president and CEO of Humber River Hospital in a press statement. “Knowing Pepper will help create positive and memorable experiences, we are very excited to introduce our newest team member.”
“We are excited to see Humber River Hospital leading the charge to innovate the patient experience,” said Steve Carlin, chief strategy officer of SoftBank Robotics in a press statement. “By meeting and interacting with Pepper, patients and visitors will be able to see how the future of healthcare can be enhanced through robotics.”
Humber River says it plans to introduce another Pepper robot later this month to its Child Life Program to help support patients up to age 18.
While Humber is the first hospital to use a humanoid robot like Pepper, it isn’t the first place in Canada to use her in day-to-day business. Last April, Pepper also made her Canadian bank debut in Alberta’s ATB Financial.
Overall, SBRA says it aims to offer Pepper to institutions across the globe, implementing the robot in industries such as retail, hospitality, financial services and travel.
Source: Humber River Hospital