Welcome to this travel blog which is inspired by the wandering clouds effortlessly gliding through distant lands. Sometimes almost still as if watching the beauty of the earth below and at times rushing to some place far away – as if on an endless travel mission. This is where I share my observations, experiences and thoughts gathered during my travels

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hugs to Paro

The Japanese are well known for their advanced contribution to robotics, engineering and technology. The Science Square at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (called AIST) at Tsukuba, Japan showcases a stunning range of state-of-the-art robots that have been designed to serve various purposes. There are the HRP 2P and HRP 3P humanoid robots that can carry out various tasks like humans; they can walk even on slippery and uneven surfaces, dance, sit down, get up after falling and pick up objects. They can do useful chores like sorting and stacking plates of difference sizes and bowls. They have robots that can detect and anticipate movement of objects in the surroundings and respond accordingly. There is also a robotic version of the Tyrannosaurus which walks and is meant for commercial use in the entertainment industry.

However, the biggest attraction at the Science Square is Paro, a robotic baby harp seal, which has been recognized as the world’s most therapeutic robot. With a pacifier in its mouth and having the most vivid and expressive eyes, Paro can evoke soft and tender emotions in any person. Under the soft white fluffy body are fitted numerous sensors that allow Paro to respond to auditory, temperature, tactile, light and postural stimuli. Paro can recognize when it is taken on one’s lap and is patted and is programmed to make certain kinds of sounds. It turns its head, waggles its tail, and blinks with its long eyelashes. It loves to be cuddled and talked to and responds in various ways when it is shown affection. Paro has been effectively used in therapy with children and the elderly. For developing Paro, scientists used research in psychology and animal therapy and studied how stress and depression could be reduced in patients, especially in situations when use of real animals may not be advisable or possible.

I felt like bringing Paro home. Perhaps I may have to some day, if I end up getting old and lonely. 


  1. @Archana. A candid confession, I bounced into your blog based on the review and what caught my fascination was your post on how robots are increasingly being programmed to behave like living beings and soon....super beings.As I associate and empathise with the topic in a manner that it connects with what I do for a living, this link would perhaps augment the perspective http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/a_robot_that_flies_like_a_bird.html
    On a different note, the way I connect with your posts, endorsed by a Geographical stamping :) -Karnataka -Coorg - Mangalore - Kovalam - San Antonio - US-Mexico Border and remotely, Robots !!!

  2. Thanks for the link, pretty interesting. In fact, I think many humans would also find it difficult to learn or perform some of the tasks that robots were programmed to do at the Science Square. Wonder if robots are made human enough to display lack of motivation or willingness to learn new tasks:)

  3. I believe it can to an extent replace pets who require lot of attention and maintainence. good post on Paro, to be frank the title took to me Bhutan Lolz