I was going to slip this into the last post, but felt it deserved its own. Here’s a video of Fujitsu’s Teddy Bear robot showing its reaction to being petted. On the surface it may not seem much more sophisticated than some of the recent Elmo dolls, but I guess it brings us one step closer to Teddy from A.I. Artificial Intelligence.
The trials are still ongoing so the results are still out, but I’m not convinced the bear shape is as good for a therapy robot as say, AIST’s baby seal pup Paro. As AIST found when they were first testing the idea of a therapy robot in the shape of a kitten, it simply wasn’t lifelike or realistic enough for people (even those with dementia) to grow attached to. The problem I see with the Teddy Bear robot is that it may simply be looked at as an advanced toy, which may get in the way of it being loved in the same way as a companion animal. The beauty of making Paro a baby seal pup was that it was exotic enough that most elderly people suffering dementia can be convinced it is the real thing in need of their love and care, and not simply an object.
[source: ITMedia News @ YouTube]