We generally think that robotic systems that adjust to the needs of their users, and allow the users complete free will, are pure science fiction and won't appear for decades to come. It's easy to understand how robots can be put to good use on automobile assembly lines, or other industrial applications. What's harder to accept is the use of robots with beings - organic creatures with feelings and self determination.
Yet, there are valid examples, some that have been in active use for a decade or longer, that provide a glimpse of the possibilities, and what our future may hold. The Lely Astronaut Robotic Milking System (video below), first introduced in 1992, allows each cow complete freedom to decide when it wants to be milked, or graze, or lay down.
According to the company website, the robotic system was ",,, with the needs and wants of the individual cow in mind... the cow visits the robot, from its own free will, as often as she likes." The result is higher milk yields, higher quality, and much happier cows.
We're not trying to imply that human beings are cows, or can be compared to them. Still, this type of successful robot implementation is highly encouraging, especially as we consider future medical and health care applications for robotics.