Sunday, August 01, 2004


I recently saw this robot at the National Institute of Advanced Science and Technology (NAIST), in Tsukuba, Japan. The Senior Research Scientist in charge of the research project is called Takanori Shibatra and his office is a shrine to the success of his robot, Paro.

Paro is intended for use mainly as a therapeutic robot, in hospitals, old people's homes etc. Anywhere where people could benefit from the calming effects that have long been associated with interacting with a pet. Paro of course has several advantages over a pet - it doesn`t need exercising or feeding and if you have an allergy it is no problem.

Beneath Paro's fluffy exterior there lie a whole host of touch sensors which enable the robot to detect in detail the wayit is being touched and respond appropriately. By simple movements and very cute facial expressions it is able to achieve a remarkable effect on those with whom it interacts. For this reason it has been proclaimed the "World's most therapeuic robot" by the Guiness Book of Records.


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