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Article

PARO as a Biofeedback Medical Device for Mental Health in the COVID-19 Era

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National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Tsukuba 305-8568, Japan
2
School of Computing, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokyo 152-8550, Japan
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AgeLab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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Gerontology Research Centre, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada
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School of Nursing, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
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The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) Programs, The University of Texas at Tyler, Tyler, TX 75799, USA
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Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
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Department of Occupational Therapy, Tokyo Metropolitan University, Arakawa 116-8551, Japan
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School of Health Sciences, University of Brighton, Brighton BN2 4AT, UK
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Happy-Net Association, Nagoya 451-0042, Japan
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Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, Livermore Division, Livermore, CA 94550, USA
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Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing, Glendale, CA 91203, USA
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Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London SW10 9NH, UK
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Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London SW7 2BX, UK
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Toshima Cable Network Co., Ltd., Tokyo 171-0021, Japan
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Oxford Institute of Population Ageing and Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2JD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: João Silva Sequeira
Sustainability 2021, 13(20), 11502; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011502
Received: 26 July 2021 / Revised: 3 October 2021 / Accepted: 8 October 2021 / Published: 18 October 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human-Robot Interaction, Wellbeing, and Stress Management)
The COVID-19 pandemic is spreading across the globe, and it could take years for society to fully recover. Personal protective equipment (PPE), various hygiene measures, and social distancing have been implemented to reduce “human to human” contact, which is an essential part of outbreak prevention. The pressure of the pandemic combined with decreased communication and social contact have taken a toll on the mental health of many individuals, especially with respect to anxiety and depression. Effective use of robots and technology as a substitute for—or in coordination with—traditional medicine could play a valuable role in reducing psychological distress now more than ever. This paper summarizes the results of a comprehensive review of clinical research on PARO, a therapeutic seal robot, which has been used extensively as a biofeedback medical device and socially assistive robot in the field of mental health. PARO has proven to be an effective and economical non-pharmacological intervention method for both mental and physical well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilization of PARO during these times has provided more data for consideration and has helped in mitigating the negative stigma surrounding using robots in therapeutic settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: biofeedback therapy; COVID-19; pandemic; mental health; social distancing; loneliness; stress; agitation; anxiety; depression biofeedback therapy; COVID-19; pandemic; mental health; social distancing; loneliness; stress; agitation; anxiety; depression
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MDPI and ACS Style

Shibata, T.; Hung, L.; Petersen, S.; Darling, K.; Inoue, K.; Martyn, K.; Hori, Y.; Lane, G.; Park, D.; Mizoguchi, R.; Takano, C.; Harper, S.; Leeson, G.W.; Coughlin, J.F. PARO as a Biofeedback Medical Device for Mental Health in the COVID-19 Era. Sustainability 2021, 13, 11502. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011502

AMA Style

Shibata T, Hung L, Petersen S, Darling K, Inoue K, Martyn K, Hori Y, Lane G, Park D, Mizoguchi R, Takano C, Harper S, Leeson GW, Coughlin JF. PARO as a Biofeedback Medical Device for Mental Health in the COVID-19 Era. Sustainability. 2021; 13(20):11502. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011502

Chicago/Turabian Style

Shibata, Takanori, Lillian Hung, Sandra Petersen, Kate Darling, Kaoru Inoue, Katharine Martyn, Yoko Hori, Geoffrey Lane, Davis Park, Ruth Mizoguchi, Chihiro Takano, Sarah Harper, George W. Leeson, and Joseph F. Coughlin 2021. "PARO as a Biofeedback Medical Device for Mental Health in the COVID-19 Era" Sustainability 13, no. 20: 11502. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011502

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