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Robot watches soap opera to learn about dementia

A robot has spent hours watching episodes of ITV soap Emmerdale in order to learn how to spots the signs of dementia.

Robbie the Robot
Edge Hill University

Robbie the Robot, which has been developed by Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, has watched 13 episodes of the programme featuring the storyline of a character living with dementia, Ashley Thomas.

The storyline was praised by the Alzheimer's Society for its accuracy.

Researchers say that as a result, Robbie can "spot signs of depression and aggressive behaviour" and the hope is that it could lead to robots helping people living with the condition.

The research team broke the episodes into 65,082 images to allow Robbie to learn to recognise facial expressions and body language.

Ardhendu Behera, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science who led the project with three students, said:

Monitoring and recognition is still very much in its infancy and we believe Robbie is the first robot to use vision-based recognition to recognise four behaviours; aggressive, depressive, happy and neutral.

Student Zachary Wharton said:

The aim is for Robbie and robots like him to look for clues as to when the person might be beginning to show aggressive behaviour and perhaps offer a distraction to help them calm down.

Wife of Alzheimer's patient praises police for missing people approach

Police searching for a missing person

Yesterday we told you how Avon and Somerset Police is scaling back searches of 'low risk' missing people due to the pressure on its resources.

Points West viewer Veronica Vince got in touch to thank the police for their help with her husband.

She told us: "Can I just say that the police do an amazing job.

"I have had the experience of losing my husband in Taunton on three occasions.

"As he suffers with Alzheimer's I know what it can be like but the police officers who helped find him were so good, I can't praise them enough.

"He is now safely in a lovely nursing home and really happy.

"Just to say thanks to our great police officers."

The rugby club reaching out to people with dementia

Worcester Warriors rugby club makes sure everyone is included in their matches
Nobody is missing out on a rugby match at Worcester Warriors rugby club now they've introduced several ways to include people with a range of conditions, from offering a free box to those living with dementia to running  a mixed-ability team.

Charity wants dementia to be top of the agenda

BBC Radio Jersey

older man looking out a window
Getty Images

The Jersey Alzheimers Association wants the island to have its own dementia strategy, separate from any plan for the future of mental health services.

Politicians have been consulting with local charities on where they can make improvements to mental health services.

Sean Pontin says Alzheimers needs its own focus if the illness is to be taken seriously.

When you look at the population changes for people with dementia over the next 10, 20, 30 years, it's something that we really need an island-wide focus on. I'm really optimistic that together, as an island and as a group of services - whether it's the States or charities or local companies - we can really drive forward and get dementia towards the top of the agenda."

Sean PontinJersey Alzheimers Association