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End of Life Care Machine

Credit: Dan Chen

Dan Chen (TW/US)

End of Life Care Machine 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 lies 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 a sense of comfort during the dying process. The Last Moment Robot takes the idea of human replacement to a more extreme scale. It allows robotic intimacy technology to be re-evaluated.

The work shown here is in prototype form.