Mario is being tested with people in the early stages of dementia in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

Andy Bleaden, the council official responsible for the pilot scheme, explained that the robot is being developed to engage with people on a deeper level than simply providing information such as the time, weather and forthcoming events.

He said: ‘We want to bring in a reminiscence tool that uses pictures from family photographs, weddings, holidays.’

Mario is also fitted with a sensor that it can use to find lost personal items such a TV remote control, keys and reading glasses, and it can call for emergency help if needed.