Stevie the robot enjoys pride of place on TIME’s new front cover

Stevie the socially assistive robot, a huge hit in Ireland since making its showcase debut in Trinity in 2017, is currently enjoying pride of place on TIME’s new front cover having made a big impression in a retirement community in the US this summer.

Stevie has been designed and developed by a team led by Trinity’s Professor Conor McGinn from the School of Engineering.

The robot was re-introduced to its Irish fans earlier this year after benefiting from the addition of some significant technological upgrades and advanced AI capabilities.

This summer the Trinity team partnered with the Army Distaff Foundation, a US-based non-profit organisation that operates Knollwood Retirement Community, where Stevie interacted with residents and staff at the facility.

Professor Conor McGinn and his team consulted with a wide range of experts during Stevie’s development, including nurses and caregivers and elderly patients living in assisted care facilities.

While developed to perform some functional tasks, Stevie is a social robot, which brings huge benefits to those it interacts with.

Speaking earlier in the year, Professor Conor McGinn said:

The social interaction provides a compelling way to reduce boredom and stimulate mental activity. It can have basic conversations with its users and play a series of simple games, and on a grander level, it can function as a control interface with many different types of technology…