Paro Robot Seal Helps Grandma

Paro is a robot that looks like a baby harp seal. Developed by AIST in Japan years ago, it has finally arrived in America - to help Grandma in the nursing home.

Paro offers these benefits:

  • Paro has been found to reduce patient stress and their caregivers
  • Paro stimulates interaction between patients and caregivers
  • Paro has been shown to have a Psychological effect on patients, improving their relaxation and motivation
  • Paro improves the socialiazation of patients with each other and with caregivers.

(Paro baby robot seal in the wild - in Japan)

Paro has five kinds of sensors - tactile, light, hearing, temperature and posture. To put it another way, Paro can sense the difference between being alone or being stroked, between night and day, between silence and talking, between warm and cold and even whether it is being held. Paro can also recognize the direction of voice and words such as its name, greetings, and praise

Paro learns to behave in a way that its user prefers; it can respond to the name Grandma gives it, now that Paro has come to American nursing homes.

Nursing-home workers and academics who study human-robot interaction are trying to figure out whether the $6,000 seal, cleared last fall by U.S. regulators as a Class 2 medical device (a category that includes powered wheelchairs) represents a disturbing turn in our treatment of the elderly or the best caregiving gadget since the Clapper.

"Some of our residents need more than we as human beings can provide," says Marleen Dean, activities manager at Vincentian Home, one of four facilities run by Pittsburgh-based Vincentian Collaborative System. Vincentian Collaborative recently used a $55,000 grant to purchase eight Paros and finds them especially comforting to patients with dementia. "We've tried soft teddy bears that talk and move. But they don't have the same effect."

Science fiction fans are probably thinking about the electric sheep and other robotic animals from Philip K. Dick's 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?.

However, I was thinking about the medical care robots from The Rowan, a 1990 novel by Anne McCaffrey. Pukhas are specially programmed stabilizing surrogate devices, and like Paro, they have sensor fur:

They could be programmed for a variety of uses, but more often were used in surgical and long-term care with great effect and as surrogates for intense dependency cases. ...thought had been given to its programming: its long soft hair was composed of receptors, monitoring the child's physical and psychic health.
(Read more about pukhas)

Via Wall Street Journal; also, check out the Paro website.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/21/2010)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Flying Dragon Robot Transforms In Mid-Air
Terrific prototype video.

MXene Hydrogel Skin For Robots Flexes And Senses
'The plastex swam and whirled like boiling toothpaste...' - JG Ballard, 1962.

Drywall Robot Looking For Sheetrock
Sheetrockers have sure changed since my day. Speaking as someone who as done this, I welcome robots.

Robots Help People Get Dressed, As Predicted In 1931
Yes, people of the future, robots will dress you.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Spicy Tomatoes Created With Genetic Engineering
How about mashed potatoes and brown gravy?

Driverless Hotel Rooms Predicted In 1828
'Did you never see a moving house before?'

Yandex Self-Driving Taxi Is Very Smooth
'The big car was slowing down, its computer brain sensing an exit ahead.'

Shrimp Actually Made Of Algae Is A New Wave Food
Bring in that crop algae.

Cosplay Style Wings Could Work On Moon
'They're lovely! - titanalloy struts as light and strong as bird-bones...'

Tesla Model 3 Has Outside Speaker Grille
Robert Heinlein does it again.

Arizona Luddites Attack Self-Driving Vehicles
'Trucks don't drive by themselves...' Or do they?

Organaut! Russians 3D Print Living Tissue In Space
'For a while your colonists will have to come up [to orbit] to the Hospital...'

WINE Spacecraft To Extract Water From Asteroids
'Yes, strangely enough there was still sufficient water beneath the surface of Vesta.'

Japanese Swordsmiths Take On Asteroids
'... a tiny, rocket-powered projectile, drove towards the mysterious bulk.'

Saturn's Rings To Vanish, Let's Mine Them While We Can
'...the valuable shards of what had once been satellites.'

Humans Could Take Up A LOT Less Space
We'd have a lot more room for gardening...

Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...'

GMO Houseplant Cleans Your Air
Removes compounds too small to be captured by a HEPA filter.

Nova Meat Can 3D Print Your Dinner
Printing out chicken nuggets.

MIT Scientists Create 'Peek-a-Boo Prober' From Jetsons
Well, George, it's the latest thing.

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.