Japanese engineers have dispatched Paro the robot seal to comfort the victims of the March 3 earthquake and tsunamis in northern Japan.
Modeled on a baby harp seal, Paro is a therapeutic robot that responds to touch and voices. It's covered in tactile sensors and responds to petting by squealing. It's meant to soothe people who use it.
Developed by Takanori Shibata at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Paro has been used in nursing homes in Japan and overseas since 2003; eight generations have been produced. Studies have shown that Paro can lower stress levels in users and caregivers. It can also help dementia patients. … Read more