[What is this about?]
“I suppose the most useful thing the cat does is bring me my pills when I need them. There’s so many of them it’s a wonder I don’t rattle. She remembers them all though and jumps up onto the arm of the chair and gives me a poke with it’s little metal nose to tell me it’s time. Doesn’t spill anything off it’s little tray – it’s a wonder!
That’s the most useful thing, dear – but my favourite thing is when it reads me the email from my grandchildren, and shows me the pictures on the telly. That’s marvellous that is.
I can reply too, and I felt a bit daft doing that at first – Henry laughed at me. But I said, you used to talk to our old cat – the real one, all the blooming time, so don’t you give me that Henry Jacobs!
We’re getting a dog next. Dogs are a little more expensive apparently, but a lot stronger and can do more around the house. Mrs Eldred around the corner is infirm and has a monkey, which can lift her in and out of bed in the morning, but that’s just daft – who’d want a robot monkey in the house?”
Technology leaders in the far-east are investing heavily into domestic robotics, both for ‘companions’, and human-augmentation, expecting them to become mainstream markets in 10 – 15 years. Sony has adopted the AIBO dog as its corporate mascot, and see robotics as an ‘entertainment and information delivery platform”
As well as companionship for the greater numbers of people living along, there are applications in catering for an aging population in the western world. From Wired:
‘In one scenario, patients with early stage Alzheimer’s might receive prompts from the system when they pause for an extended period while making tea. Reminders to eat, drink and take medicine could be sent through a radio or television.’, ‘Dishman said society has no choice but to aggressively develop such technology as 76 million baby boomers begin to turn 65 in 2011.’
Also from Wired:
Nursebot , a robot that provides both cognitive and motor support to seniors. Nursing-home residents can lean on Nursebot as the machine walks them down long corridors, responds to their questions and reminds them about appointments.
when a robotic kitten named Max arrived, he seemed to melt the hearts of a few robot skeptics. Max, which was built by Omron out of Tokyo, is quite lifelike, with sensors that trigger catlike responses — including 48 different cat sounds — with a touch or voice cue. Omron only built 500 Maxes last year, according to Elena Libin, project director at the Institute of Robotic Psychology and Robotherapy in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
The institute studies “robotherapy,” which its website defines as the use of person-to-person interactions “to create new positive experiences.” Libin is studying the mood-altering effects Max has on seniors with dementia.”