Seniors literally had the future in their hands when a pair of remote-control and voice-activated interactive robots visited Methuen Village assisted living last month.

Five Merrimack College students and their professor, Dr. Rick Caldwell, stopped by to show the senior crowd the capabilities of these robots and also how easy they are to interact with and operate. Spot, made by Boston Dynamics, models a large canine, standing on all fours and easily hopping, walking and even dashing up stairs. Pepper, created by the Asian company Softbank, is a 4-foot-tall facial-recognition robot that can spin, talk, sing, do tai chi and obey other simple commands.

After watching a brief demonstration of what the robots are capable of, the seniors were offered the opportunity to take the controls, which several did – to their delight. Each room filled with smiles and laughter, with residents running the tablets.

“Lots of times, (seniors) are reluctant to try and they’ll say, ‘I don’t want to break it,’ ” Caldwell explained. “But they can do it! That’s the fun part.”

“It’s so great that they are able to interact and be hands-on with these robots,” grinned Methuen Village Activities Director Ashley Gonzalez. “That’s what I love about this.”

“Watch out!” Joan Westcott jokingly warned, as she tapped the tablet and Spot marched across the room.

“Wow! Just amazing … it’s like a real person,” said Marguerite Carifio, as Pepper followed her commands.