Care Robots

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  • RIBA, the cute care robot
    • - The initial concept for RIBA was to create a nursing assistant robot that would employ robot technologies in order to accomplish physically demanding tasks such as lifting people. It is no simple task, however, for a robot to be able to lift and carry a person, because the movements required are quite different from the case of an industrial robot grasping and lifting up an object.
    • Equipped with two arms, RIBA is capable of lifting and carrying a care recipient, while supporting the back and the area behind the knees, like a groom gently scooping up his bride.
    • “The cute, teddy bear-like design of RIBA is intended to make the robot fit in comfortably with the caregiving environment and be accepted by care recipients,” explains Mukai Toshiharu.
    • "The tactile sensors equipped throughout RIBA allow it to be guided by caregivers who touch its arms or other parts. This ease of use for caregivers is another essential ingredient for popularizing a nursing assistant robot"

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  • Paro, the cute therapeutic companion robo-seal
    • "In a pilot study published by the Journal of Gerontological Nursing, a team of Australian and German researchers allowed elderly patients stricken with dementia to interact with “therapeutic companion robots.” In this case, the researchers used a Japanese creation called Paro—robots designed to sense touch, light, sound, temperature, and posture. The robots can show emotions, including happiness, surprise, and anger. They can also adapt to a user’s preferences, repeating actions that result in petting and avoiding actions they associate with being hit.""
    • Seal pups were chosen because they are cute and also quite alien (one is not likely to have preexisting experiences with seals, thereby lessening chances of there being a negative response towards a seal pup robot.
    • - It's Not a Stuffed Animal, It's a $6,000 Medical Device - Paro the Robo-Seal Aims to Comfort Elderly, but Is It Ethical? - "It never quite caught on. "It doesn't do much other than utter weird sounds like 'heeee' or 'huuuu,'" says Tomoko Iimura, whose adult day-care center in Tsukuba City keeps its Paro in a closet."
      • Sherry Turkle, a professor in the Science, Technology and Society program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, acknowledges Paro's potential as a communication aid, but warns against regarding it as a companion. "Why are we so willing to provide our parents, then ourselves, with faux relationships?" she asks.
      • DTI requires caregivers to attend Paro seminars, where they discuss such issues as whether it's OK to leave an elderly person alone with a Paro, and whether patients must be told it's a robot. Don't allow someone to "escape into a strange seal robot's universe," cautions Lone Gaedt, senior consultant at DTI.
      • ""I love animals," explains Ms. Simmeth. She whispered to the robot in her lap: "I know you're not real, but somehow, I don't know, I love you."
    • Mechanical Love -

Uncanny Valley

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  • Eisa Jocson’s Macho Dancer
    • - “Macho doesn’t prove mucho,” socialite and actress Zsa Zsa Gabor once punned. And while a certain prideful strut and a slightly aggressive air may prove little, it remains a schema that frames how we perceive and gauge masculinity, which is begging to be deconstructed. Eisa Jocson‘s recent performance “Macho Dancer” (2014) at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s (PICA) 2014 Time-Based Art Festival (TBA) used macho gestures like muscle flexing, chest puffing, and other assertive poses. Bare-chested while simultaneously flexing her arms and flaunting her manufactured bulge, the performance was gender-bending cognitive dissonance at its artistic best.

See Also