Friday Gadget – $6,000 Paro Robot

paro-robotic-healing-seal-1 Got $6,000?  Then perhaps you need the Paro.  Its a robot in the form of a cute plush-toy baby seal that has been designed to provide companionship and comfort for the elderly. The therapeutic robot, called Paro, includes a suite of sensors enabling it to respond to touch and to simple spoken greetings.   

The PARO robot is covered in pure white synthetic fur with built-in intelligence providing psychological, physiological, and social effects through physical interaction with humans.  Inside are two 32-bit CPUs, which can process voice recognition and imitate animal behavior, enabling PARO to develop its own character.  PARO has five different types of sensors over the body that allows it to perceive people and the environment, and respond to touch, light, sound, temperature, and posture.  With the light sensor, Paro can recognize light and dark. He feels being stroked and beaten by tactile sensor, or being held by the posture sensor. Paro can also recognize the direction of voice and words such as its name, greetings, and praise with its audio sensor.

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