Private Project

Circuits of Care: Ageing and Japan's Robot Revolution

By 2036, one in three people in Japan will be over the age of 65. While the nation wrestles with a shrinking labour force, the Robot Revolution Initiative was launched to expand robotics into every corner of Japanese economy and society. Circuits of Care follows anthropologist David Prendergast as he meets researchers developing and testing assistive technologies for older adults. From cybernetic walking supports to companion robots and automated sensor networks in nursing homes, older adults and care professionals share their experiences of the practical benefits these technologies bring, the problems they create and the unexpected relationships that can blossom.

  • David Prendergast
  • Naonori Kodate
  • Daniel Balteanu
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Ethnographic, Science and Technology
  • Runtime:
    29 minutes 59 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    March 28, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    20,000 EUR
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Japanese
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Distribution Information
    Country: Worldwide
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - David Prendergast

David Prendergast is a social anthropologist and Professor of Science, Technology and Society at Maynooth University in Ireland where he was also previously Head of the Department of Design Innovation. David also worked at Intel for eleven years where he was a Principal Investigator at the ‘Technology Research for Independent Living Centre’ and co-founder of the ‘Intel Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities’. He has served as Visiting Professor of Healthcare Innovation at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin. His latest book ‘Aging and the Digital Life Course’ was named a CHOICE ‘Outstanding Academic Title’ by the American Library Association and was described as one of ‘the two most fascinating books on aging in the 21st Century’ by the Huffington Post.

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Director Statement

I am an anthropologist and keen photographer who has also been making short film vignettes for many years to provide a showcase elements of my research on ageing, technology, sustainable cities and anthropology.

I recently set up the Maynooth University Visual Ethnography Lab as I am trying to encourage the development of ethnographic filmmaking and photography in Ireland.

'Circuits of Care: Ageing and Japan's Robot Revolution' is my first serious attempt at making a documentary film. I was invited to Tokyo to talk on my work designing technologies for older adults and realised I had a rare opportunity to meet and interview some of the leading minds on robots, AI and assisted care in the World. I wanted to go beyond this, to explore how older adults and health practitioners interact with, understand and live alongside their non-human counterparts.

I hope you enjoy the film.