Paro Harp Seal | Cute Robot Seal at CES 2011
Fluffy seals are always going to give us the ahh factor, especially when they react to your stroking with mewling and tail wagging. The Paro is a therapeutic robot which allows pet free people to enjoy the benefits of having an animal without the stress, and acts as a valuable therapeutic tool in places where animals are unwelcome- such as hospitals. TheParo is currently undergoing its 8th revolution as a therapy robot, and includes some updates and enhancements to its body. It remains the same fluffy harp seal you may have seen before, but within the antibacterial fur lies a wealth of tech goodness.
Dual processors control behavioural software and a voice recognition system which allows the Paro to build relationships with its owners and makes it respond to sound, touch and light. In effect, these attributes help the Paro create a distinct personality, and create an artificial bond with its owner.
The idea is that interacting with the Paro provides one with therapeutic social interaction and motivates and amuses them. A quick five minutes playing with the Paro was enough to have me filled very chilled, so I can really see the beneficial side to this robot. It will be making its way into healthcare places across the country, and they are initiating a rental programme.