Mr Whittles

Whittlesea Library welcomes Mr Whittles to their team.

Mr Whittles is an innovative pilot program that involves a telepresence robot on a miniature segway-style base with an iPad mounted on a telescopic pole to engage isolated seniors in their community. Less mobile residents can have access to virtual tours, consultations and events without leaving home. This interactive robot will be located within Whittlesea Library and be available to the local nursing homes TLC, Whittlesea Lodge and other socially isolated residents.

Funding for this project came from the Whittlesea Bowls Club who donated $5,200 and Whittlesea Community House which donated an iPad air. This community partnership project was launched at TLC Sunlight Residential Aged Care where residents were introduced to the functions and many features of Mr Whittles.

Whittlesea Library is the first public library in Australia to use this style of robot to allow aged care residents and house-bound residents to engage and reconnect with the community. Mr Whittles can be used in two-way conversations using iPads and remotely commanded by residents from local aged care facilities or from the homes of house-bound residents. Footage from the library and other events can be streamed live back to the aged care facility which residents watch on a big screen TV, laptop or iPad thus allowing the facilities to conduct interactive excursions in comfort.

The benefits that Mr Whittles will bring to the community is to enable house-bound residents to have a new lease of life, continue to be socially connected and included within the community, improve brain health, and allow residents successful interaction with emerging technology. It is envisaged that the robot will travel to the library and allow residents to access the collection and participate in library and council events. Mr Whittles could even be taken around the state, country or overseas.