Belly dancing, joke-telling robot delivers smiles at Calgary shelter for seniors fleeing abuse
CALGARY -- It's fantastic, made of plastic, and can charm you with its songs; it's little wonder that Temi the robot has been welcomed with open arms by the residents of a seniors shelter in downtown Calgary.
The multi-faceted performer — programmed to dance, sing and tell jokes — has been a hit during its week-long visit to the Kerby Rotary Shelter that houses people over the age of 55 fleeing elder abuse.
The robot's arrival comes as pandemic-related restrictions continue to limit activities at the shelter for residents and their contact with the outside world.
"It's a fully autonomous personal robot equipped with the latest in A.I. (artificial intelligence) and navigation technology," explained Sanah Jowhari of Pantala Technologies, the company behind Temi. "The same technology you see in self-driving cars."
In addition to providing entertainment, Temi's display allows residents a platform for video conferencing with doctors or family members.
"Until here, I didn't know how to email," said Robert John Doumont. "This time last year, I wouldn't have had anything to do with it. This has been a total change."
Resident Debbie Schillemore says the robot has been a welcome distraction.
"It makes you feel good, it does. It relaxes you. You don't have to think about stuff you're worrying about."
While Temi has been a temporary addition to the Kerby Shelter, Pantala Technologies hopes to begin introducing the robots as permanent residents at locations throughout the province.
With files from CTV's Chris Epp