'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 -
We Could Downgrade Puerto Rico - And Thereby Save It
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.' - John Brunner, 1976.
The Neuroon Open Sleep Tracker For Lucid Dreaming
'Leads trail away from insertion points on her face and wrist... to a lucid dreamer on the bedside shelf.' - Peter Watts, 1999.
'Do Not Pay' Chatbots To Replace Law Firm Associates?
'I want my lawyer program.' - David Brin, 1990.
Translate One2One From IBM's Watson Your Communication Solution
'It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix...' - Douglas Adams, 1979.
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.
Orwell's Memory Hole Looms Larger Thanks To Nvidia
'All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary.'
Pipefish Robot Checks Pipes Cheap
Just like capsule endoscopy, but for bigger pipes. That go underground.
Nifty New SDS Space Debris Sensor For ISS
'Their radars... could easily pinpoint the debris of the early Space Age.'
NanoRacks Space Station Module Concept Validated
Space junk into space architecture.
Nuclear Drones Could Fly For Years
'I sent my eyes on their rounds and tended my gallery of one hundred-thirty changing pictures...'
SciFiQ Science Fiction Writing Aid
'Books were just a commodity that had to be produced, like jam or bootlaces.'
Robot Only Faster, Not Better, At Recycling
'Whenever a robot finds something it can't identify straight off... it puts whatever it is in the hopper outside your window.'
Poland Starts With 1000 Warmate 'Suicide Drones'
'Royal Security had told the pods to electrocute you or blast you into chum.'
Dream Of Building Your Own Rocket?
Fiorello Bodoni, you inspire all of us.
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?
Elon Musk Fears A 'Fleet-Wide Hack' Of Autonomous Vehicles
'Khan grinned. 'It's alive! Bu-wahhahahah!''
China Melts Tibetan Permafrost To Plant Forest
'Can you give us a microwave spotlight?'
iFlytek Doctor Robot First To Pass Medical Exams
Doctor shortage? No problem, we'll just use the autodoc.
Slaughterbot AI KIller Quadcopter Drones
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.'
Do We Really Want Backflipping Robots?
Also includes wonderful blooper reel.
RNA-Based Biocomputing Device
Living things can sense and analyze complex signals in living cells.
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories