London: The latest therapeutic robot developed in Japan looks like a fluffy toy and has been designed as a companion for older people to keep depression at bay.The robot baby, called Babyloid, has a round silicone face with two black dots for blinking eyes and a small slit that poses as a mouth and that can produce a smile.
The robot also has a way to indicate moods - LED lights embedded in Babyloid’s cheek turn red to signify that it is contented while blue LED tears will mean it is unhappy.
If you hold the crying Babyloid and rock it, it might fall asleep.
Babyloid’s creator Masayoshi Kanoh, a professor at Chukyo University in Japan’s Aichi prefecture, has said that the basic design with smiling face was chosen ‘to avoid the creepiness a realistic baby face can have’, the New Scientist reported.
During experimental studies at a retirement home, Kanoh found that users interacted with Babyloid an average of seven to eight minutes in a sitting with a total of 90 minutes per day, which helped ease symptoms of depression.
The inventor conducted experimental studies at a retirement home, and found that it helped ease symptoms of depression in the elderly when they interacted with Babyloid for 90 minutes a day.
The robot can produce 100 different voices and its prototype costs about 2 million yen presently.
However, Kanoh hopes that it if it reaches the market, consumers would be able to get it for 100,000 yen.
First Published: Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 18:41