Robot Cats Perfect For Older Britons
Robot cats and other man-made companions could help Britain's elderly, according to a report by the Royal Academy of Engineering.
"This is not constrained by the technological possibility of it so much as by the desire to do it -- and that is bound up with all sorts of social factors," said Professor Will Stewart of Southampton University, who contributed to the report.
As well as robotic pets, autonomous systems could be morphed into robot babysitters, artificial therapists and social or even sexual companions, the report said.
With Britain's elderly population set to grow around 50 percent by 2020, robotic companions could also help monitor the health of Britain's increasingly grey population.
"It is not a complete replacement for your kid calling you once a week. What you want is continuous attention and that is very difficult," said Stewart.
A robotic pet could help raise the alarm in the case of an accident, monitor fridge contents to make sure the elderly do not go hungry while voice prompts could remind them to switch off the heating.
Maybe older Brits could start with the Dream Cat Venus, an autonomous robotic feline that will be available for about $110 in Japan.
(Dream Cat Venus)
The report does not mention the stiff upper lip required of those who repair electric pets; witness this scene from Philip K. Dick's Do androids dream of electric sheep?.
...he had picked up the first malfunctioning animal for the day. An electric cat: it lay in the plastic dust-proof carrying cage in the rear of the truck and panted erratically. You'd almost think it was real, Isadore observed as he headed back to the Van Ness Pet Hospital - that carefully misnamed little enterprise which barely existed in the tough, competitive field of false-animal repair...
The electric mechanism, within its compellingly authentic-style gray pelt, gurgled and blew bubbles, its vidlenses glassy, its metal jaws locked together.
I'm also interested in how the right device could extend the companionship offered by an organic pet. Consider Huggable, a robotic teddy bear developed by MIT that seems to fit the bill specified by the Royal Academy of Engineering.
(Huggable Robotic Bear Companion for Therapeutic Applications)
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/20/2009)
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 ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
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.
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.
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