'Electric Sheep' Gaining On Real Pets
In his excellent 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick writes about a world with virtually no real, living animals. Robotic animals are 'kept' by their owners, and given the same feelings and affection associated with real animals:
He ascended … to the covered pasture whereon his electric sheep "grazed." Whereon it, sophisticated piece of hardware that it was, chomped away in simulated contentment, bamboozling the other tenants of the building.
(Read more about Philip K. Dick's electric sheep)
It turns out that several studies show that robotic pets really do invoke the same feelings and reactions as real pets. In a recent study at the University of Missouri, levels of cortisol dropped among adults who petted AIBO, Sony's dog-shaped robot. Cortisol is a hormone that indicates stress. AIBO has some convincing dog-like behaviors; it rsponds when stroked, chases a ball and perks up when it hears a familiar voice.
Purdue psychologist Gail Melson gave AIBO to children ages 7 to 15 for a few play periods; seventy percent felt the robot could be a good companion, like a pet. When AIBOs were provided to elderly residents in independent living facilities for six weeks, residents reported being less depressed and lonely.
(Paro mental commitment robot)
In Japan, a robotic baby seal named Paro is being used in Nanto City, which has an elderly population numbering 26% of all residents. Paro was developed at a cost of $10 million by Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. Dr. Takanori Shibata, the creator of Paro, has found that interaction with cute, cuddly robots lowered stress, elevated moods and decreased depression. Paro also encouraged communication and social behavior among subjects. Shibata found that brain activity increased 50% in patients with dementia after just twenty minutes with Paro.
New robots like Paro are typical of today's helpful robots. The TMSUK robot helpfully carries your bags in the mall, soothing autonomous fish-bots swim gracefully in acquariums and iRobot's new Scooba keeps you from household drudgery.
Read more about how Robotic pets offer health benefits or Japan's robotic companions. See also the Paro mental commit robot for psychological enrichment website.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/26/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 3 )
Related News Stories -
Wearable MRI Is Former Occulus/Facebook Exec's New Project
'Your cephalochromoscope... that you always turn on and play when you get home...' - Philip K. Dick, 1977.
51 Percent Of Job Activities Could Be Automated
'Mike did not have upsets, acquired sense of humor instead...' - Robert Heinlein, 1966.
Scotland Set To Implement Basic Income
'Earned by just being born.'- Philip Jose Farmer, 1967.
Life In Detroit's 'Agrihood' - The First In The U.S.
'countless tiny brown circles in the green fields ...occasional ruins of ancient cities...' - Philip K. Dick, 1954.
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.
TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'
Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.'
SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...'
Pangorin Restaurant Service Robots
What'll you have? Jawa juice?
Drug Creates Real Melanin Tan
I've used them all my life...
Medical Drones Hover Like Angels Near You
'The death-reversal equipment is on its way...'
SkEye Amazing Israeli Gigapixel Drone
'An eye that could not only see, but fly...'
How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.'
'Liquid Light' Flows Around Corners
Light as a superfluid.
Unrolling The Filmy Materials Of Space Tech
'When unfolded and unrolled... it became a tough, gleaming film.'
Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...'
Poli-X1 Prototype Bee Pollinator
Is there anything drones can't do?
Bake in Space Bake-Off... In Space!
'A joyous condition commenced for the cook in the electric kitchen...'
DeepMind AI Baffled By Homer Simpson, Needs Human Help
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off...'
Does Earth's Middle Mantle Hold Oceans Of Water?
Al Gore, you have no idea.
Vaccine Blocks Heroin High
'You're biochemically incapable of getting off...'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories