The rise of the healing robots has begun

Mar 16, 2016, 08:00 am

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By AsiaToday reporter Kim Ye-jin - "At first I was a little excited, but then happy and joyful. I've become friends with Asimo!"

A 15-year-old Indian boy named Nihal Bitla, who is suffering from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, has had his dream come true - to meet Asimo, reported Nihon Keizai Shimbun on Tuesday.

Nihal lives with his family in the suburbs of Mumbai, India. He loves robots. He met Honda Motor's humanoid robot, Asimo, at Delhi Auto Expo 2016, the biggest motor show in India held back on February 2. Before meeting Asimo, Nihal shyly said, "If it's possible, I want to be with Asimo continuously."

As the big match between Go master Lee Se-dol and artificial intelligence (AI) computer AlphaGo is gaining a lot of international attention, interest in AI and robots is also rising. While there are artificial intelligence machines that challenge to humanity, there are other kinds of robots that comfort and heal humans.

A Japanese ENT clinic introduced Softbank's humanoid robot named Pepper in order to release children's tension on March 3, reported Nagano Prefecture's local newspaper Sinano Mainichi Shimbum on March 4. The humanoid robot relieves children's tension by reading books and starting a conversation to children who often get nervous ahead of their checkups.

Paro, a pet-type robot with healing effect developed in Japan, entered the World Records as the most therapeutic robot in 2002. This 52cm robot with an appearance of a baby seal tilts his head sideways or blinks at you when you pat him. He gradually learns to respond to whatever name you keep calling him. Paro has been comforting patients in environments such as hospitals and extended care facilities in Japan. It costs $5,000, and is being exported to the US, UK, Italy, Denmark, and more.  

Recent consumer robots are also equipped with "healing effect" functions. Cocorobo RX-V95A, a Japanese robot vacuum cleaner developed by Sharp, has become popular for its pet-like functions such as chatting to you as it cleans the carpet. As it carries out its chores, it also chats about its day and send you pictures.

In this connection, Mainichi Shimbun said on February 1 that the essential factor of home appliances would be 'healing' and 'practicality'.

#healing #humanoid #artificial intelligence #Nihal Bitla #Asimo 
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