Research on robot companion pets to kick-start new year of Wrexham Talks lectures

Date: Tuesday 10th October, 2023

The use of robot companion pets for people with dementia will be the subject of the first talk to kick-start this academic year’s public lecture series at Wrexham University. 

Dr Joanne Pike, Acting Associate Dean at Prifysgol Wrecsam/Wrexham University, led on the study, which explored the effects of a robot cat for people with dementia, living in their own homes. 

As part of the study, the Research team investigated robot cats and the influence they had on people’s wellbeing. 

Taking place at the university’s Wrexham campus on Wednesday 25 October starting at 6pm, Dr Pike’s talk, which is free to attend, will discuss the findings of the research and will pose some questions about developing robots for supporting people at home and in care.

Dr Pike said: “I’m delighted to be the first speaker for this year’s public lecture series – Wrexham Talks Research, where I will discuss our study on robot cats and what effect they had on people living with dementia and their carers. 

"Although this was a relatively small study – with only 12 participants, we found that the robot cats had a positive impact for people with dementia, having a calming effect, as well as encouraging conversation. 

“I’m looking forward to sharing our study’s themes and findings, which will hopefully spark some great questions and interest from attendees.” 

Dr Pike’s talk will be the first of this academic year’s public lectures – Wrexham Talks Research, a series of free public lectures delivered by Wrexham University academics, which are open to all.  

These lectures will showcase the institution’s research, communicated in an accessible way.

Other talks taking place throughout the academic year, as part of the public lecture series, include: 

  • ‘Aircraft Electrical Propulsion: Humanity’s journey towards Net Zero’ – delivered by Dr Rob Bolam, Reader in Aeronautical Engineering, taking place on Wednesday 6 December
  • ‘Artists engaging the public on environmental and societal issues and why it matters’ – delivered by Professor Alec Shepley, Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology, taking place on Tuesday 16 January, 2024
  • ‘It’s healthy, it’s good for the environment, it can be fun but we’re not quite there yet: Implementation of active travel for public health’ – delivered by Dr Chris White, Lecturer in Health, Mental Health and Wellbeing, taking place on Wednesday 28 February, 2024
  • ‘Pawsome support: Managing stress using therapy dogs among university students’ – delivered by Dr Shubha Sreenivas, Senior Lecturer in Psychology (Biological), taking place on Tuesday 23 April, 2024
  • ‘On the challenges of enforcing the fox hunting ban’ – delivered by Professor Iolo Madoc-Jones, Professor of Criminal and Social Justice, taking place on Wednesday 5 June, 2024  

Frances Thomason, Head of Research Services at Wrexham University, added: “As a Research team, we are immensely proud to announce this academic year’s schedule of public lectures, where attendees will hear all about the ground-breaking research that our esteemed academics lead on, as well as have the opportunity to ask any questions they might have.  

“Dr Joanne Pike’s lecture on her research on robot companion pets for people with dementia is a fantastic way to get the new series underway. Come along and listen for yourself.” 

More information about the free to attend Wrexham Talks Research public lecture series can be found here.

Book your free place on Eventbrite!