Elderly cyborgs get love from robots (!)
IOL: Computers / IT
"Tokyo - Japan's growing elderly population can now buy companionship in the form of a 45cm robot, programmed to provide just enough small talk to keep them from going senile.
"Snuggling Ifbot, who is dressed in an astronaut suit with a glowing face, has the conversation ability of a 5-year-old, the language level needed to stimulate the brains of senior citizens, according to its software designer.
"If a person tells Snuggling Ifbot "I'm bored today", the robot might respond "Are you bored? What do you want to do?"
"To a statement, "Isn't it nice today?", the robot could say, "It is a fine autumn day" by detecting the season from its internal clock.
"This robot has in its memory several million patterns of phrases that it uses when spoken to," said Takao Ohsuga, senior executive at Dream Supply, a Nagoya-based information technology firm that developed the product's software.
"By talking with this robot, seniors who are often alone can stimulate their brains and avoid becoming forgetful."
"The company has received 128 pre-launch orders for the robot, which hit stores yesterday at a cost of about R32 000.
"It has 15 programs, including singing songs and reading out quiz games.
Whatever happened to actually talking to the elderly?
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