Brian the Robot

In the photo: Dr. Goldie Nejat (at left), founder and director of the Autonomous Systems and Biomechatronics Lab at University of Toronto, works on "Brian" while Bianca Stern, Baycrest's director of Culture and Heritage, looks on.

“Brian” may not be handsome, at least not until he gets his face done. And it’s not that he needs makeup. He’s a social robot – a prototype therapeutic robot, in fact — and his creators, mechanical engineers at the University of Toronto’s autonomous systems and biomechatronics lab, just haven’t had time to beauty him up.

Dr. Nejat’s research team has developed a silicone rubber face for Brian to allow it to display facial expressions, and is continuously working on improving this face. Developed with Baycrest, the innovative health sciences centre in Toronto that is focused on aging, Brian will soon go for a trial run in a nursing home. He can show emotion through expression and through speech and his ultimate goal is to enhance quality of life for cognitively impaired seniors in long-term care. Brian will act as a motivational coach, for residents who can benefit from environmental cueing, according to Baycrest project leader Bianca Stern.

Click here for more on Brian.