Last Moment Hospital is an interactive installation, consisting of an empty room, a seating area and a reception desk. Signs, medical bracelets, health information forms, and other related medical products are used to transform the space into a hospital-like environment, where people go for their final rite of passage. In this empty room lit with a single fluorescent light is a hospital bed and the Last Moment Robot by the bedside. The robot is constructed as a medical device with a padded caressing arm, and a customized recording device designed to guide and comfort the dying patient. The whole event is carefully scripted.
Viewers of this installation are invited to enter the room, one at a time, accompanied by an individual dressed in a doctor’s coat. After the patient lays down beside the robot, the doctor asks permission to insert his or her arm under the caressing mechanism. The device is activated, and an LED screen reads “Detecting end of life.” At this point, the doctor exits the room, leaving the patient alone by him or herself. Within moments the LED reads “End of life detected”, the robotic arm begins its caressing action, moving back and forth, stimulating the sense of comfort during the dying process. Simultaneously, the robot annunciates the patient’s name using the script below, while stroking the patient through death.
Hello Susie, I am the last moment robot.
I am here to help you and guide you through your last moment on earth.
i am sorry that (pause) your family and friends can't be with you right now, but don't be afraid. I am here to comfort you. (pause)
you are not alone, you are with me. (pause)
Your family and friends love you very much, they will remember you after you are gone. (pause)
Time of death 11:56
The process of dying is probably the most vulnerable moment of a human life, where one seeks the assurance of human connection. In this installation, human presence is replaced it with a robot, questioning the quality of intimacy without humanity
The artwork is inspired by Paro, a therapeutic robot used to administer animal therapy for the elderly, especially Alzheimer patients in Japan. The success of this robotic pet—a white baby seal that mimics the behaviors of the actual animal—has been proven effective in diminishing isolation, coping with stress and offering emotional uplifting. It is an interactive robot that administers animal therapy to patients in environments such as hospitals. While it’s efficient and proven effective, I question the quality of intimacy, human isolation and challenge the form factor of Paro.
The Last Moment Robot takes the idea of human replacement to a more extreme scale. It allows for robotic intimacy technology to be reevaluated. The form factors are also been challenged, instead of mimicking the real, the Last Moment Robot’s objective is aim to allowing the patients to experience the paradoxical sensation. Allow the patients knowingly interact with the placebo treatment.
Mechanical assisted intimacy device (MAID) or Robotic Intimacy device (RIT) questions the deceptions through technology and replacement of humanity with robotics. It is a new category in industrial design/product design, where the object is made for questioning and present a possible solution living with technology.
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