CARMEN Will Boost Your Mental Health at Home 

In collaboration with clinicals as well as patients with MCI, Researchers at the University of California San Diego have created CARMEN.

In collaboration with clinicals as well as patients with MCI, Researchers at the University of California San Diego have created CARMEN, a robot that helps people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) boost their memory, focus more and mental control at home. 

Interactive Learning for Better Mental Health 

CARMEN is the short term for Cognitively Assistive Robot for Motivation and Neurorehabilitation. Its main purpose is to help people learn cognitive skills by performing fun activities and games that are targeted towards the improvement of their daily mental abilities.  

What is MCI? 

Researchers describe Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) as a condition that lies in the middle stage between aging and more serious conditions, such as dementia. This condition affects mental skills like memory and attention. While medication did not show a success in reducing or slowing symptoms, behavioral tools, such as CARMEN seem to be good alternatives. 

It is possible to use this new robot independently. This self-setup device needs very little maintenance, meaning it could be great for places with limited internet access. When the deployment of this new robot initiated at homes, it helped people in many tasks, such as setting up a routine for important activities and organizing their schedule. 

During the testing of its effectiveness, the researchers found out that people with MCI had better self-confidence when it comes to applying the cognitive skills they learnt from this robot. They also found that the robot has a potential in promoting greater autonomy and adaptation to different needs. 

Flexibility Is the Key 

In parallel, the team also emphasized that cognitive assistive robots (CARs) have potential to bring medical assistance into homes, noting that the main key of success of such robots is flexibility, which means the capability to adapt to various cognitive abilities and rehabilitation goals. 

Final Thoughts 

CARMEN is a major step in the field of robots as well as in the medical one, as according to the research, it could be more effective than medication. However, what if these robots suddenly malfunction? How will this affect the patient? Additionally, speaking of the cost, will they be accessible for everyone? 

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