A robotic seal has helped to improve the quality of life of dementia sufferers, according to a Northumbria University study.
Researchers have claimed that interacting with a robot companion made people with mid to late-stage dementia less anxious and also had a positive influence on their lives.
Academics from the UK, Australia and Germany have been investigating the effect that PARO the robotic harp seal has on dementia patients.
PARO is fitted with artificial intelligence software and sensors that respond to touch and sound - and help it to show emotions like surprise, happiness and anger.
It can also learn its own name and learns to respond to words that its owner uses frequently.
The pilot showed that the robots had a clinically meaningful influence including increased levels of pleasure and also reduced anxiety.