Just what the doctors ordered

Most hospital patients would want the warm human touch when it comes to their care.

But patients at Belgian hospital AZ Damiaan are unlikely to complain if some of the medical staff carry out their duties mechanically, especially Pepper (above), the latest recruit. The 1.2m-tall humanoid robot took on receptionist duties at the facility on Monday.

The BBC said Pepper can recognise the human voice in 20 languages and can detect whether it is talking to a man, woman or child.

It is not the first robot to work in the hospital.

Zora (right, with 11-year-old Belgian patient Ian Frejean) is being used in the care and rehabilitation of the elderly and children.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2016, with the headline 'Just what the doctors ordered'. Print Edition | Subscribe