Paro, the baby seal, has soft white fur and large, compelling black eyes. He likes to be talked to and petted, and he can be relied upon to awaken feelings in his owners, even if he has none himself—he’s a computer in the body of a cuddly toy.
Developed in Japan, Paro robots are being introduced in hospitals and nursing homes across Europe, revolutionizing the treatment of dementia patients. At the same time, these high-tech pets have sparked intense controversy about the field of emotional robotics and its use in elder care.
The award winning documentary visits a German nursing home running a four-month Paro trial phase, observing his impact on patients and personnel. Is Paro an acceptable alternative in places where using real animals is impractical or unsafe? Is his companionship superior to that of a living thing? Are 'cuddly robots' really an appropriate therapy for dementia? Can they make dementia patients happier and healthier?
Join ActivAge 2012 for their special showing of 'Squeeze Me' at 18:30. There will be an opening reception at 18:00, and the film will be followed by a discussion with the producer and panel, including filmaker Annette Wagner.
This event is hosted by the Dementia Services Information & Development Centre, and is supported by Science Gallery.