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 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. Tsukuba, Japan
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.