Six Robots and Us is a unique experiment exploring the latest innovations in robotics. With science fiction fast becoming a reality, how useful can these robots be in enhancing the lives of ordinary families, not in the distant future, but now? In a television first, this series follows six British families with different needs as they welcome robots into their homes, from helping them get fit to easing the burden of care and from assisting them understand the world to teaching them how to enjoy it. Each robot helps a family with a specific need, but one that millions of us can relate to. How will they react? Will the robots actually work? And will the families want to keep them or switch them off at the end of the experiment?
With unprecedented access to groundbreaking technology, the series reveals the very latest in robotics research - how robots are made, how they operate and both the possibilities and limitations of how they interact with humans. Following six families' journeys from initial meeting to their deepening dependence on a robot, this eye-opening documentary showcases how our lives could dramatically change in the future.
In this second episode, we round up stories from last time and follow our university experts as they deliver new robots to different families around the UK. Watching the robots' every move are psychologist Dr Caroline Jay and robotics specialist Professor Jonathan Rossiter. They are looking to see if the robots can complete their tasks, have humans bond with them and function outside of the lab in the real world.
In north London, parents Michelle and Paul Doherty have their hands full with four-year-old son Ethan, who is autistic. Dr Ben Robins delivers Kaspar, a robot specially designed to help young children on the autistic spectrum learn communication and interaction skills. For the next six weeks, Kaspar becomes part of the family with his own bedroom and place at the table, but will Ethan accept him and agree to interact?
In Edinburgh, Shopbot is delivered to the Margiotta food store. One of the last small food businesses in town, the Margiotta's have spent decades building a customer base who value the friendly human interaction they offer. But the new generation of the family who run the business want to look to the future, and they invite a robot worker to try and compete. In Suffolk, Neil and Linda Bowles continue to accommodate the CareBot, an assistance robot that can issue medication reminders and even call an ambulance. After two weeks together, CareBot's personality is helping forge a trust from its new family, but when it's left in charge of the patient for an hour, everything goes wrong.