Newcastle trial asks if robots could be the future of an active lifestyle

A robot, designed to improve the health and fitness of older people, is being trialled in Newcastle.

The machine, which can carry bags or shopping, will follow the user, encouraging them to keep mobile.

It can carry up to 18 kg of cargo, moving up to six miles per hour for up to four hours of continuous use. It communicates through sound, light and touch.

The device is being studied by the National Innovation Centre for Ageing, with the help of robots testers like Irene Soulsby:

The project will examine how users adapt to what is being called a "tech companion" and evaluate how it can help deal with loneliness and isolation and boost healthy behaviour.

It is hoped that using the robot will encourage older people to walk more, giving them more confidence to go out into their communities.