Researchers at Trinity College Dublin have unveiled a prototype robot that is designed to help in care facilities.

The device is the first of its kind to be built in Ireland.

When fully developed it will be able to assist elderly and people living with disability.

"It will help people to live independently, help people to live in their homes longer," said Assistant Professor in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, Conor McGinn.

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The robot, which has for now been named Stevie, has been built by a multidisciplinary team involving engineers and computer scientists at TCD.

Stevie has been purposely designed to look like a human, with two arms and a head that houses a face upon which a mouth appears.

This head interface can show facial expressions to reflect the robot's "emotions", making it capable of providing social feedback to those it is interacting with.

It also has in-built sounds, lights, a camera and a battery of sensors to enable it to interact intelligently.

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The team behind the robot have secured funding from Enterprise Ireland to continue its development.

They aim, through a start-up company, to make Stevie into a marketable product for use in care facilities and settings.

To do to that the research group has started to collaborate with Alone, the organisation that supports older people to remain at home as they age.

They are also consulting with nurses, caregivers and elderly patients.

The researchers hope to have Stevie ready for the market by 2021, with the first pilot in a care setting to take place in 2018.