The MOnarCH Project, which stands for Multi-Robot Cognitive Systems Operating in Hospitals, is currently in the Portuguese Oncological Institute of Lisbon, studying the interaction between robots and pediatric oncology patients. The goal is determine if these therapeutic robots, which collaborate with medical personnel, can interact naturally and engage in edutainment activities with the pediatric patients.
Leveraging technologies such as a network of fixed cameras, RFID tags, teleoperation devices, voice generation, both isolated and combined as augmented reality interfaces, the robots will apply concepts in social skills, group behaviors, and human-robot interaction, using learning methodologies and decision-theoretic principles to interact with the children.
If this experiement is successful, it can pave the way for robots to assist in kindergarten classes and to serve as personal assistants to the elderly at home.
Other robots, such as Paro and Kasper, have already proved to be successful in interacting with the elderly and autistic children, respectively.