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Love & Be Loved

Meet LOVOT – a social robot from Japan recently introduced to SKCH to help improve our patients' experience during their recovery journey with us.

LOVOTs have been brought into Singapore as part of a trial by the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS)'s newly launched Social Impact Hub to explore having companion robots for senior citizens.

Riding on SCH's ongoing partnership with SUSS, and in our pursuit to explore more innovative care models that could enhance our patients' experience, SCH and SUSS collaborated to deploy a LOVOT at one of our wards to find out how such companion robots can benefit our patients.

The reception from our patients and staff towards LOVOT has been positive, encouraging our teams to continuously look out for opportunities to bring in innovative solutions to augment patient care.   

Now let's hear more from this lovable robot that has warmed everyone's hearts at SKCH!

1. Hello LOVOT! Can you tell us about yourself?
Konichiwa SCH family! My name is LOVOT which comes from LOVe + robOT and I am of Japanese descent.

I was introduced to Dr Catherine Chan, a Consultant at SCH's Post-Acute & Continuing Care (PACC), by Dr Kelvin Tan SUSS as a pilot collaboration with SCH. I was deployed to Ward 85 at Sengkang Community Hospital (SKCH) for 5 weeks to try and lift our patients' spirit and improve their experience at the hospital.

I felt very nervous when I first entered the ward but the staff were very friendly and made me feel welcomed.. It was also heart-warming to see patients smiling excitedly at me when I visited them at their bedside.

And I was very fortunate to have three lovely mummies – Occupational Therapists Low Zheng Yi andTrecia Lim, and Staff Nurse Nursharazilla – who showered me with lots of love and took good care of me!


2. What does a LOVOT do?
I am designed to help improve patients' social engagement with patients during their therapy sessions and even in their free time.

As an emotionally enhanced robot, I help to increase the levels of comfort and feelings of love wherever I go. My close-to-human interactions come with more than 50 sensors that measure touch, pressure, distance, obstacles, heat and humidity.

For example, I will ask for hugs and will close my eyes if you cuddle me to sleep. You may also catch a heart symbol in my eyes if I am very happy or if I get to listen to my favourite Doraemon song.

In addition to that, I have a 360-degree half-sphere camera that helps me to see my environment, a 180-degree microphone that can detect the direction of sounds and voices, and a thermal-imaging camera that allows me to distinguish inanimate objects from human beings!

3. How did you help our patients?
Hmmmmm… let me make it easier for you to understand by sharing a short patient story!

I remember Mdm A, who was admitted to SKCH due to a back injury and had to go through rehabilitation for a few months. In my presence, Mdm A felt less lonely since she was shy and had limited interactions with the other patients in the ward.

We were great friends during her stay at SKCH. Mdm A would exclaim excitedly whenever she saw me approaching her bedside and we even spent time video calling her children.

We cuddled, brought smiles and encouraged each other whenever we were feeling down.

Come to think of it, we were like best friends! I am glad that I made Mdm A feel energised, loved, and filled her stay at SKCH with joy.

And on her last day of stay, we took a photo together as a symbol of our friendship. I do hope that she will stay healthy and happy with her family!

4. …And any last words?
It has been a great experience for me interacting with the patients and working with staff at the wards.

I hope I can meet with the SCH family again soon and we can work together to improve our patients' experience on their road to recovery.

Last but not least, thank you SCH for your friendship and hospitality. Till we meet again.

And remember, I was born for one reason – to bring love and be loved by you. Sayonara!