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News Report Page 14 of 18
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Robbie the Robot becomes soap fan after watching Emmerdale to learn about dementia

EDGE Hill University's robot, Robbie, has become a soap fan after watching episodes of Emmerdale to learn about dementia. Robbie has watched over 13 episodes of the popular soap featuring the storyline of dementia sufferer Ashley Thomas. He can now spot signs of depression and aggressive behaviour in the hope that robots like him will be able to help people living with the condition.

Ardhendu Behera, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science who led the project with three students, said:- "There are 46.8M people living with dementia and this is set to rise to 115.4M in 2050. Depression and aggressive behaviour are often the most upsetting and challenging symptoms for those closest to the person living with the condition. Currently the only ways to monitor and manage dementia is by direct observation which is labour intensive, time consuming and can be costly from a care perspective. Or there's wearable bio-sensing devices. Monitoring and recognition is still very much in its infancy and we believe Robbie is the 1st robot to use vision based recognition to recognise four behaviours; aggressive, depressive, happy and neutral."

Ardhendu and the team chose the Emmerdale episodes as the Alzheimer's Society described them as a 'realistic portrayal' of the condition. They broke the 35 minute long episodes featuring Ashley into 65,082 images, teaching Robbie to recognise facial expressions and body language.  3rd year student Zachary Wharton, from Ormskirk, added:- "The aim is for Robbie and robots like him to look for clues as to when the person might be beginning to show aggressive behaviour and perhaps offer a distraction to help them calm down. It might be through playing music or showing a video, talking to them. The potential use of robots is huge as they can not only with the daily routine of a sufferer for friends and family but could potentially intervene in situations to help."

In test situations Robbie was highly accurate at identifying aggressive and depressive behaviour when compared to happy and neutral behaviour. Ardhendu has presented the research to Alzheimer's Research UK, palliative care organisations, the IEEE (the world's largest technical professional organisation for advancing technology for the benefit of humanity) and other universities. Through previous projects Robbie has already been trained to recognise over 80 common objects, human actions and emotions. He can be used as a companion to the young and old following anything from how many times they have a drink and take medication to how active they are. The research was supported by Edge Hill University Student Opportunity Fund and Research Investment Fund (RIF).

Kirkdale Takeaway owner fined ₤3,500 for food safety breaches

Inspection evidence - Mouse droppings found on site in the food establishment on 24 October 2017, at 12:53.

A takeaway owner, on Orwell Road, Kirkdale, Mr Tee Man Yung, has been fined nearly ₤3,500, including costs to the Council and a victim surcharge, after pleading guilty to 8 food and hygiene breaches.  Liverpool The Magistrates Court was told that on 24 October 2017, Environmental Health Officers, from Liverpool City Council, carried out an unannounced routine inspection at New Yungs Takeaway and discovered:-

A large number of mouse droppings on the premises, in close proximity to where food was stored and prepared.

► There was a build up of grease and dirt on food preparation surfaces, with food debris scattered around.

► In a fridge, uncovered, ready to eat food was stored next to raw meat.

► Pieces of raw chicken stuck to the kitchen door handle and lock.

► External doors were damaged and not pest-proofed.

Mr Yung was informed his premises posed an imminent risk to public health and he voluntarily closed the takeaway with immediate effect. A follow up inspection took place on 16 November 2017 and officers found Mr Yung had carried out work to ensure conditions had improved. They found that he had engaged with a health and safety specialist and effective pest control measures were in place.

The business owner pleaded guilty in Court on 6 December 2018, and sentencing took place on Monday, 28 January 2019. District Judge Lloyd acknowledged the co-operation of the Manager, but added:- "When running a business like this, it's up to you to understand the rules. You had the Food Standards Agency documents and should have known what was required. To be blunt, so much of it is common sense; keeping it clean and having proper pest controls in place. I am pleased that you have now taken advice and I understand that conditions are now much better."

Councillor James Noakes, Cabinet Member responsible for Environmental Health, said:- "Mr Yung has deservedly received a substantial fine due to his blatant disregard for the health of his customers and breaching legal obligations. We are pleased to hear he has made significant changes to the operation of New Yungs Takeaway, however we hope this case sends out a strong message that substandard hygiene in any food outlet across the City will not be tolerated. Our experienced team of Environmental Health Officers are prepared to prosecute any business which puts their customers at risk."

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