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 ")

Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.

Multi-Robot Farming On Highly Sloped Land
High Plains, indeed.

Aeolus Robot Brings Jetson's Rosie Closer
Domestic duties, robotically performed.

Sony's New, Cuter Aibo Robot Puppy
Engineered to be adorable.

 

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

A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something...'

Neuromorphic Computer Offers Non-von Neumann Architecture
Fires faster than brain at 1/10K energy.

Evorus Your Crowd-Powered Conversational Assistant
'...the DS [Daily Schedule] was suddenly transformed into a valued confidante.'

Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.

Alibaba's AI May Read Better Than You
'Mike ... could accept other languages and was doing technical translating - and reading endlessly.'

Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'

Humanity Star LEO Advertisement?
'Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements...'

Nissan ProPILOT Slippers Are Self-Parking, Autonomous
Beyond science and fiction.

Atomristors - Atomic Memristors - Using Thin Nanomaterials
'I could almost feel those little tunnel junction neuristors working, forming their own interconnections as I operated it.'

Bigelow Prepares Inflatable Lunar Hotel
'Suddenly, hitherto unheard-of sums of money became available for investment in civilian orbital stations.'

Drunk Driver Of Tesla Claims Autopilot Was In Charge
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive.'

Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.

Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'

Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'

NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'

GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'

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.