Robot librarian helps elderly connect

May 4, 2016

Whittlesea’s elderly residents can now visit the library without leaving home.

The library recently received more than $5000 from Whittlesea Bowls Club to build Mr Whittles, a telepresence robot on a miniature segway-style base with an iPad mounted on a telescopic pole.

Mr Whittles will allow residents at Whittlesea Lodge and Sunlight TLC Aged Care to take part in library events and consultations remotely.

The robot can be used in two-way conversations using iPads, while also allowing footage from the library to be streamed live.

Yarra Plenty Regional Library marketing and media co-ordinator Marieclaire Baird said Whittlesea’s library was the first public library in Australia to use such a robot to enable aged-care and house-bound residents to reconnect with the community.

“The benefits that Mr Whittles will bring to the community is to enable house-bound residents to have a new lease of life [and] continue to be socially connected and included with the community,” she said.

Mr Whittles’ iPad was donated by Whittlesea Community House.

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