In view of a growing ageing population in Hong Kong, PolyU recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NEC Hong Kong (NECHK) to provide intelligent interactive social robots for older adults and their caregivers. Under this initiative, a series of research projects will also be carried out to investigate the effects of using social robots on managing self-care and to encourage older adults’ proactive engagement in interpersonal activities to foster a physically and mentally healthy life.


In cooperation with NECHK, Prof. Angela Yee Man Leung, Associate Head (Research) of the School of Nursing of PolyU, and her team from the School have developed five social robots to provide companionship and support for the daily activities of older adults. The team will use the robots to conduct a series of research projects titled "Social Robots for Old Adults and Caregivers".


Prof. Christopher Chao, Vice President (Research and Innovation) of PolyU is pleased that the University is collaborating with NECHK, a leader in integrated IT and networking technologies that promote personal and community safety and improve quality of life. He said that NECHK’s commitment is aligned with PolyU's ongoing endeavours to advance knowledge transfer and applied research to respond to societal needs. He believes that the collaboration between PolyU's School of Nursing and NECHK will provide innovative solutions for the ageing population and ageing-in-place trend.


The first ongoing study is "The Presence of Humanoid Robots with Older Adults at Homes", which investigates whether older adults would accept and enjoy interacting with robots at home, and the preliminary effect of the robots on loneliness, cognition, medication adherence, and mental and social well-being. The AI robots in this study speak Cantonese for verbal interaction with the older adults.