Will robots be better therapists than humans?

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An experimental “socially assistive” robot has been shown to get better results in elderly rehabilitation patients than human therapists, preliminary research finds. Individuals recovering from strokes tend to be more compliant with their rehabilitation regimen with the assistance of a robot engineered by scientists at the University of Southern California's Viterbi School of Engineering, researchers say. Residents of a Southern California rehab facility are more inclined to complete strenuous, repetitive exercises with the robot, which is named Bandit, than they are when working with a human therapist, according to the researchers. USC investigators launched a study in mid-June comparing improvement in the recovery of stroke patients working with the robot, versus patients who interacted with another person.

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