Aging is a fact of life. No matter how hard we try to fight it, the years keep adding up and our bodies keep aging. According to MIT’s Age Lab, the world is currently at a historical high of more than 600 million people over the age of 65! By the year 2030, there will be an estimated one billion people over 65, growing to 1.6 billion by 2050.
This growth, while affecting the entire globe, is of primary importance in wealthy countries where spending by and for this age group is in the trillions of dollars. The aging population will also require more caregivers than ever before. But there is a shortage of such people. Creative solutions are needed to address the gap. What can be done?
Meet Zora, the caregiver robot, now a resident of a number of care facilities in France and Australia. Zora can join with care facility residents for activities such as aerobics, singing, playing games, and reading. Although Zora is small in stature, she speaks an impressive 19 languages. And, Zora cares for children as well as adults. Patients develop an emotional attachment to Zora, holding, kissing, and cuddling the robot. More than 1,000 Zora robots have been sold to hospitals and care facilities; pricing is $18,000 per unit.
Of course, Zora is not a substitute for a trained human caregiver or health care worker, but she sure makes people smile!
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss the business of robotics. Where is it going? Who will benefit?
- Show Zora the robot: http://zorarobotics.be/index.php/en/
- Videos can be found at Zora’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbT8GS9L_IdYvpCeNRd2gVg
- Discuss the buying process for organizations. Who would influence the decision-making?
- Have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps.
- Problem recognition?
- Information search?
- Evaluative criteria?
- Purchase decision?
- Post-purchase behavior?
- What are key considerations in each step?
Source: Satariano, A., Peltier, E., & Kostyukov, D. (23 November 2018). Meet Zora, the robot caregiver. New York Times.