Moojan Ghafurian, Graham Postdoctoral Fellow in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, and Kerstin Dautenhahn, Canada 150 Chair in Intelligent Robotics in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, have received a catalyst grant from the University of Waterloo’s Network for Aging Research to develop emotionally intelligent robots to help people with dementia. Jesse Hoey, Associate Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, and Jennifer Boger, Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems Design Engineering, complete the multidisciplinary team.
More than half a million Canadians currently live with dementia, a group of symptoms caused most commonly by Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia affects a person’s memory, thinking and social abilities. As it progresses, dementia interferes more and more with a person’s daily life and places an increasing burden on their caregivers. The cost of dementia to the healthcare system and caregivers is an estimated $10.4 billion per year, a figure expected to rise to $16.6 billion by 2031.