By Jonathan Kimak
A while ago my now deceased grandmother had to move into a nursing home. The stress of moving into that place was nearly overwhelming for her and had it not been for our dog Tommy my grandmother might have died within the first month. The companionship between our dog and my grandmother gave her(in my opinion) 4 more good years of life. It also gave her someone to pet and talk to without worrying about what he thought.
It is this sense of companionship that robotics engineers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan focused on during the 12 years spent creating Paro.
Paro is a fur covered robot that resembles a baby seal. Its function is to act as a therapeutic pet in situations where a real pet could not or should not be used. It helps both kids in hospitals and seniors in nursing homes relax and socialize and can really extend their life or at least their enjoyment of life.
Some nursing homes in the US already carry Paro and it’s likely that more will follow.