The housebound can now take a virtual walk through The Amelia

ROBOT VISITOR The device (inset) being trialled at The Amelia Scott centre

A ROBOT that allows people who are unable to leave their home to ‘walk’ through museums and other places has been trialled at The Amelia Scott centre.

The ‘telepresence robot’, has a camera and screen, and can be controlled remotely by those people who are housebound.

The trial at the Civic Way cultural centre is being conducted to investigate the benefits of telepresence robots for care home residents and staff.

Telepresence is the ability for someone to be present in a location which is usually inaccessible to them using technology.

It has been developed by InteractiveMe, a health technology company led by Occupational Therapist Sam Dondi-Smith and has been awarded funding by Innovate UK.

The project team is working with Kent-based care homes to investigate if people who are bed-bound or socially isolated can engage with spaces outside of the care home, which typically would not be accessible to them.

The self-driving robot consists of a screen attached to two wheels that can be controlled by the user as they move around the space from a remote location.

They have onboard systems to prevent bumping into things and while they are typically used in office environments, the project team can see potential in supporting the wellbeing of people living in residential care homes.

Jeremy Kimmel, Arts, Heritage and Engagement Director at The Amelia, told the Times: “We’re very proud to be the first venue to trial this new technology, which could allow access to our displays and collections to many people who would not otherwise be able to do so.

“Being a part of work like this, using culture to improve the wellbeing of others, is and has always been an extremely important part of what we do – and we are always looking for new and innovative ways to share our unique stories and help people.”

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