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Japan Baby-Robot Teaches Parenting Skills

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Tsukuba University's Yotaro baby humanoid robot

The Yotaro baby simulator breaks into tears if its sensors detect it is not receiving sufficient attention.

Credit: Tsukuba University

Tsukuba University engineering students have developed Yotaro, a baby humanoid robot designed to teach young people about parenting. Yotaro's face is made out of soft translucent silicon and is backlit by a projector connected to a computer to simulate sneezing, sleeping, and smiling, while a speaker emits sounds such as giggling or crying. Sensors detect physical contact and can change the robot's mood based on the frequency of the touches. Yotaro also simulates a runny nose with a water pump that releases body-temperature droplets of water through the nostrils.

Meanwhile, the University of Osaka recently unveiled a robot that mimics a crawling baby as part of a research project to study the way humans learn to move and speak. The Osaka robot has 22 motors and 90 tactile sensors and microphones located near the eyes and ears. When told to move forward, the baby-bot will wave its legs and arms, gradually learning which movements will enable it to push itself up and crawl, says Osaka professor Minoru Asada.

From Agence France Presse
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