Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Giant Paro?

Sometimes the story stands on its own two flippers.

What is a Mental Commitment Robot?

Unlike industrial robots, "Mental Commitment Robots" are developed to interact with human beings and to make them feel emotional attachment to the robots. Rather than using objective measures, these robots trigger more subjective evaluations, evoking psychological impressions such as "cuteness" and comfort. Mental Commitment Robots are designed to provide 3 types of effects: psychological, such as relaxation and motivation, physiological, such as improvement in vital signs, and social effects such as instigating communication among inpatients and caregivers.

Meet Paro, a mental commitment robot modeled on a baby harp seal. Paro is supposed to mean "robot" in Japanese but I've never heard the word myself. This anti-stress device was apparently introduced at The Silver Industry Conference and Exhibition, which is "aimed to stimulate business interests to harness the economic opportunities of aging Asians."

Basically a toy convention for old people.
Paro...for when your grandchildren aren't small enough to put on your lap anymore.

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