Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Huggable Robotic Bear Companion From MIT

Huggable, the robotic companion for therapeutic applications, is the result of an MIT project that seeks to take advantage of our love for animals. Research indcates that animal companionship benefits people; they can lower our stress, reduce heart rate and respiratory rate, elevate mood and facilitate greater socialization with other people.


(Huggable Robotic Bear Companion for Therapeutic Applications)

However, there are many situations where animals are not welcome, due to allergies, risk of disease or institutional requirements (in hospitals and nursing homes).

The MIT team has created a huggable robotic bear that can interact with patients and provide quantitative information to care givers.

The Huggable robotic therapeutic companion makes use of a variety of cutting-edge technologies:

  • The full-body sensate skin consists of three different types of sensors - electric field, temperature and force - that cover the entire surface of the robot. (The sensor-skin lies under a silicone skin and plush fur fabric for greater comfort.) This is may be an improvement over earlier efforts to give robots pressure-sensitive skin or electroluminescent thin film sensors.
  • An inertial measurement unit, cameras embedded in the eyes and microphones in the ears.
  • Voice coil actuators with position sensing give the Huggable silent, compliant and backlash-free movement in the neck, shoulders and face.
  • An embedded PC with wireless communication capabilities implements the robots behaviors and provides care givers with effective patient monitoring and efficient data collection.
Researchers are determined to meld these technologies into a coherent whole that serves patient needs:

"One important and novel capability we are developing for the Huggable is its ability to participate in active relational and affective touch-based interactions with a person. Social-relational touch interactions play a particularly important role for companion animals in their ability to provide health benefits to people. Touch can convey a wide variety of communicative intents --- an animal can be tickled, petted, scratched, patted, rubbed, hugged, held in ones arms or lap just to name a few. To be effective, therapeudic robotic companions must also be able to understand and appropriately respond to how a person touches it ."

Science fiction fans have been looking forward to these developments for generations. In his 1969 story Super-Toys Last All Summer Long (the basis for Steven Spielberg's A.I.), writer Brian Aldiss imagines Teddy, a perfect robotic companion for a young boy. And a mother.

"Stand there, Teddy. I want to talk to you." She set him down on a tabletop, and he stood as she requested, arms set forward and open in the eternal gesture of embrace.

"Teddy, did David tell you to tell me he had gone into the garden?"

The circuits of the bear's brain were too simple for artifice. "Yes, Mummy."
(Read more about Brian Aldiss' Teddy bear robot


(Teddy the robotic companion from A.I.)

An earlier (and somewhat more sinister) vision of robotic teddy bears is provided in Always Do What Teddy Says, a 1965 short story by Harry Harrison. Also, physicians have been using robot stand-ins for rounding; read InTouch Companion: Medical Rounding Robot. Read more about MIT's Huggable Robotic Companion.

Update 02-Aug-06: Excellent reference from a reader - see Purza the Pukha from Anne McCaffrey's The Rowan.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 8/2/2006)

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 ( 11 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.' - Robert Heinlein, 1956.

Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
'Bird-like robots now descended from the ceiling of the theatre...' - Clarence Edward Heller, 1930.

Robotics Jobs In The Food Industry
'The efficient robot waiter of the Sky Club had cleared away the remnants of an epicurean meal.' Nat Schachter and Al Zagat, 1931.

Smallest Remote-Controlled Walking Robot Crabs
A robot 'as big as a dust grain.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1937.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Small Town Wants 60 License Plate Readers
'the registration number which the traffic control automatically photographed as she left the controlway...'

Lightyear 0 World's First Production-Ready Solar Car
'It could maintain a steady six miles per hour...'

AI Robots Excel At Trash Sorting And Recycling
'Then they press one of these here thirteen buttons...'

Could Increased Space Rocketry Damage The Ozone Layer?
'...without burning a single hydrocarbon molecule to injure the diseased atmosphere any further.'

Dyson's Secret Household Robots
'...work a human being does around a house.'

Festo BionicSwift Bird Robots Described In 1930
'Bird-like robots now descended from the ceiling of the theatre...'

Robotics Jobs In The Food Industry
'The efficient robot waiter of the Sky Club had cleared away the remnants of an epicurean meal.'

Prototype 3D Printer Could Print Arteries In Seconds
'...in the tank the new body and the new mind and memory and life has taken almost instant form.'

China Wants 'Hard Kill' Capability To Counter Starlink Satellites
'pirate three-vee satellites sanded out of orbit...'

Low-Cost Gel Pulls Water From Atmosphere Like Star Wars Vaporator
'The atmosphere yielded its moisture with reluctance. It had to be coaxed down...'

Pixy Flying Selfie Drone From Snap
'It hovered behind him like a large tame bee.'

Smallest Remote-Controlled Walking Robot Crabs
A robot 'as big as a dust grain.'

Pleasure Model Replicants Now Available
'Want a life-companion... sir, I can get you up any style you want.'

Robot Covered In Living Human Skin
'Hey buddy, you got a dead cat in there or what?'

Dall-E 2 Creates Art To Order
'Something different,' she said. 'Maybe a combined Miro and Goya.'

SpaceX Rocket Quick Reaction Force
'... the ship went into free flight, arching in a high parabola.'

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.