Imagine your elderly grandmother is in a nursing home and has fallen out of her chair. As she lies on the floor, she pulls the alarm cord and, after a few seconds, help arrives. But it’s not a care worker standing there – it’s a robot.
The machine assesses the scene, then moves closer to gently lift her up and place her back into the chair. It then scans her face using facial-recognition software and sees that she’s a little upset and shaken, so it displays a smiley face on its screen to try and put her at ease.
This may sound like something from a sci-fi film, but advances in robotics and the needs of a sector coming under increasing financial pressures mean such a scenario could be just around the corner.