Fujitsu Labs' new robotic teddy bear is a "social robot with a personality" -- and he actually has a fairly serious job. The company plans to use the bot in geriatric therapy with patients who suffer from dementia.
The teddy bear's sophisticated hardware enables it to interact with and respond to humans, make gestures, maintain eye contact and engage in small talk. Its internal sensors help it make certain gestures, such as waving its hands, when responding to external stimuli.
The bear also can be plugged into a PC (using a USB port) and features a miniature camera in its nose. Wired.com reports:
The bears [can] ... automatically wake up from sleep state when they sense a person nearby and can turn in their direction. A voice synthesizer inside the device lets it channel the voice of a young boy. The sound is projected from a built-in speaker and synchronized to the robot’s behavior.
The robotic bears are capable of up to 300 movement patterns including raising its arms, looking downwards and kicking its feet. The movement are combined with display of “emotions” to signal happiness, sadness and anger, says Fujitsu. And since the robot can be connected to the PC, new movements can be recorded and displayed.
Fujitsu hopes hospital and geriatric patients will quickly take to the bears, since they are uniquely interactive -- and adorable.