Companionship

Baby robot designed to appeal to maternal instinct unveiled in Japan

The 'Kirobo Mini' is capable of recognizing the face of the person speaking to him and responding in unscripted conversation or even starting a chat.(TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

A new robot, reportedly designed to be a companion for the exponentially growing number of childless women in Japan, has been unveiled in Tokyo. The Kirobo Mini, created by Toyota, fits in the palm of an adult hand, and “wobbles” like a baby “which hasn’t fully developed the skills to balance itself,” according to chief design engineer Fuminori Kataoka. “This vulnerability is meant to invoke an emotional connection.”

Kirobo Mini also speaks in a high-pitched voice, blinks its eyes and comes with a “cradle” that fits in car cup holders, to function as a baby seat.

The robot baby (that will sell for around $392) is one of several companion robots coming to market, including one designed to soothe elderly dementia sufferers.

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Read the full story at Reuters.

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