Friday, 12 September 2003

Japanese Robo Care-bears

Guardian reports that Japanese pensioners are getting robotic teddy bears to keep them company and remind them when to take medication and stuff.

Mrs Tanaka is 84. Today, as usual, she wakes just before 7am, slips on her dressing gown and flips a switch to start water boiling for her first green tea of the day. She's about to get dressed when she pauses. She turns to the low table near the door, where a soft toy sits incongruously, and greets it in her distinctive west-Japan accent.

"Good morning Teddy. How are you today?" "Pretty good, thanks Tanaka-san," comes the reply. "Have you remembered to take your pills? It's the pink ones this morning," the robot bear continues.

Sincere Korien's robot bears aren't as spectacular as the Power Assist Suit, but they also act as proxy pets. Their core function is to record patients' response times during simple conversations powered by voice-recognition software and to relay anything unusual to staff via the company Lan. Although Teddy is networked via physical cables, the potential to take things wireless is obvious.

Eat your heart out AI (not a bad AI site by the way).

***Imported from old blog***

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