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Paro the Therapeutic Robot Baby Seal

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the we're-gonna-need-a-bigger-club dept.

Robotics 52

Mike writes "Paro is a therapeutic baby seal robot that is exploring new dimensions in animal therapy. Created to act as a companion for hospital patients and the elderly, the adorable baby harp seal bot aims to increase relaxation and decrease stress. Paro can sense and respond to its immediate environment through five integrated sensors that detect touch, light, sound, temperature, and posture, and it is even capable of learning and responding to a name."

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Yes, but can he.... (2, Funny)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#28060905)

Can he swim underwater [engadget.com] like a real seal? .... and if you inflate him with helium, does he fly?

Re:Yes, but can he.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28060961)

Yes and can he take the oatmeal munchers with them? Cause they're eating up my food and hell care.

But really... can I club them and have them make terrible noise and bleed? If not I'm going to go hook up with some Inuit hunters and bash like it's 1899!

Re:Yes, but can he.... (1)

Kostya (1146) | more than 4 years ago | (#28061167)

Whoa. That was seriously cool ... and a little creepy. The action on the penguins was eerie!

Re:Yes, but can he.... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 4 years ago | (#28064779)

and if you inflate him with helium, does he fly?

You don't need helium to make him fly. Just a club.

Re:Yes, but can he.... (2, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#28065287)

Can he swim underwater like a real seal?

I know attempting a serious answer to a discussion riddled with baby seal jokes is rather useless, but baby seals [gdargaud.net] can't swim until they lose their bay fur which provides insulation only against cold air, not cold water.

Stress Relief (4, Funny)

qpawn (1507885) | more than 4 years ago | (#28060981)

Provide a wooden club alongside these baby seals to help people release their stress.

You could sell them as a package. I've got the perfect slogan: 2 Seals, 1 Club.

Therapeutic (4, Funny)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 4 years ago | (#28060995)

They're not kidding when they say these are therapeutic. I just clubbed the shit out of a half-a-dozen of these things, and I haven't felt this good since I got back from the Arctic!


Re:Therapeutic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28061961)

I thought this was "Thero the Paraplegic Robot Navy Seal."

Re:Therapeutic (1)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062007)

Man, this'll get me through those tough Canadian winters when clubbing baby seals isn't in season. It'll probably help improve my accuracy too!

Re:Therapeutic (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062343)

How twisted am I? When I read the title this was exactly what I thought the article would be about...

Works for everyone except (1, Redundant)

useless4321 (1497401) | more than 4 years ago | (#28061003)

Eskimos, bastards keep trying to club the poor thing to death.

Re:Works for everyone except (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28061471)

This is a comment to this message and one further down.

1. They aren't "Eskimos"... They are Inuk, Innu, and/or Inualuvimiut.
2. There is nothing wrong with using a hakapik, it's much faster than a gun, I know it looks bad, but it's better for the coat and the speed of death.
3. We don't just use fur for coats... nice, stylish and warm coats... but the chinese seem to like ..certain parts... as aphrodisiacs, and we eat the meat too... ever hear of seal flipper pie? :-D

If you want to condemn anything, go after fox hunting or kangaroo culls, because they are just for sport, or "nuisance" reasons.

Re:Works for everyone except (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#28061651)

I'm afraid that your ethnic group has been judged "less cute than its food source". Prepare for extinction. (Or stick to chickens, it is pretty damn difficult to be less cute than a chicken...)

Re:Works for everyone except (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#28061941)

actually roo culling is to prevent them breeding till there is a plague and they starve. man created dams and thats given roo's year round water so they breed year round

Re:Works for everyone except (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28062057)

Apparently American indigenous Alaskans have no problem with the term Eskimo. It's only Canadian Inuit who seem to make a big deal of the politically correct stuff.

Bad idea! (3, Funny)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 4 years ago | (#28061013)

You're going to have to paint Paro's fur orange so as to deter poachers. I don't imagine that a patient's stress levels would be very low after seeing their baby seal buddy clubbed into oblivion.

Posssible Uses (1)

florescent_beige (608235) | more than 4 years ago | (#28061039)

If a Newfoundland fisherman harpoons himself in the foot during next year's seal hunt they can give him one of these in the hospital to cheer him up.

It's a robot right? Maybe they could put missiles on (in?) one and put in on an ice flow then film it shooting back at the fisherdudes. That would be a YouTube classic right there boy I'll tell you what.

Re:Posssible Uses (1)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#28064391)

We *had* brutal sadistic animals that would hunt humans effectively. They're mostly extinct or getting there. I applaud you on making a more effective killer as what's left is BORING. Even with 200 years of selective breeding deer have not grown any defensive weapons nor do they exhibit any effective aggression towards humans.

Re:Posssible Uses (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 4 years ago | (#28065295)

Fill it up with explosives, let it rest on the ice until a canadian comes along. Make sure to film from a safe distance.

Mental Commitment Robot Seal, Love You Long Time (3, Informative)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 4 years ago | (#28061083)

really old news here, this was covered all over the place about a year ago - like here http://www.gadgetking.com/2008/08/21/mental-commitment-robot-seal-love-you-long-time/ [gadgetking.com]

Re:Mental Commitment Robot Seal, Love You Long Tim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28061173)

Only a year ago? Slashdot is on the up-and-up!

Re:Mental Commitment Robot Seal, Love You Long Tim (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28067415)

It's older than that, I remember news reports on this thing in 2003 for god's sake (Example, http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/ptech/11/20/comdex.bestof/index.html [cnn.com])! SLASHDOT it is too early to do a "I Love the 00's" program for VH1, please save your reminiscing on 6-year-old news for next year!

The real question is... (0, Redundant)

SaidinUnleashed (797936) | more than 4 years ago | (#28061109)

...does it still die when you bash it on the head with a golf club? And will it make just as nice a pair of slippers?

SKYNET!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28061573)

These are skynet's new minions!

first sick children and the elderly, tomorrow the world!

What happens when they discover (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28061691)

that the robot seal is 50% more therapeutic with genuine baby harp seal fur?

Did you hear the one about the eskimo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28061741)

An eskimo takes his snowmobile to a mechanic after eating an ice cream cone.

The mechanic says, "Looks like you blew a robot baby seal."

The eskimo replies, "It was therapeutic."

Reminds me of the time.... (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 4 years ago | (#28061753)

Elton John, being a fan and thinking it would be a nice bit of PR for Iggy Pop, jumped onto the stage unannounced in a gorilla costume. Not realizing Iggy, as was sometimes the case at the time, was performing on LSD it turned into a show stopper.

I can imagine by the time I'm old in the home, have Alzheimers, and they try to drop some advanced bit of furry robot squirm into my lap, I'll probably react like Iggy on acid. Great, just great.

So the only difference between this and a furby.. (1)

Lorienthin (1439867) | more than 4 years ago | (#28061917)

Is that when this one makes noises that are annoying as hell and "learns" to wake up at 2am there will actually be irony in your brutal clubbing of it.

Quick, go get the club! (1)

Bones3D_mac (324952) | more than 4 years ago | (#28062969)

Skynet takes many forms... don't be fooled by it's cuteness.

Re:Quick, go get the club! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28063081)

I for one welcome our new baby harp seal overlords

Therapy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28063361)

Ok, So.. it's for human therapy, right? They said animal therapy, but I think they mean using animals to therapize humans, rather than some kind of attempt to make other baby seals feel better.

Great for clubbing (1)

Dillenger69 (84599) | more than 4 years ago | (#28063703)

Since it looks like they already have a pacifier in the mouth they must be great for clubbing.

Re:Great for clubbing (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 4 years ago | (#28063771)

That is not funny whatsoever! There is nothing remotely humorous about animal cruelty. Also, Paro has been around for a number of years. This isn't new.

Re:Great for clubbing (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 4 years ago | (#28069985)

Not only has Paro been around for a couple of years--except as dinner for a whale or a polar bear, no baby seal has been killed in nearly a quarter century.

These squishy-left nerds need to bring their propaganda up to date.

Creepy, weird. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 4 years ago | (#28064523)

Is it really too much to ask that people keep the sick and elderly company? And if the only thing that wants to spend time with you is a robotic seal, is it even worth it to keep living. . .

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28065279)

"detect touch, light, sound, temperature, and posture, and it is even capable of learning and responding to a name"... wow! that's far more than many software engineers can do.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28065309)

You want to keep an eye on your baby, so you install a camera in her room.

You want to take care of her, so you put a bag with sensors in her cradle, in the form of an animal.

And, of course, if you don't buy this gadget to your baby, you are such an irresponsable father.

Sterilization (1)

mowse2 (843608) | more than 4 years ago | (#28065443)

Its going to be placed in the hospital... So the first question that came to mind is, how do we sterilize it periodically?

Paro, crap quality (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 4 years ago | (#28066167)

I worked at a science center for kids for a year and half and we had a Paro for about a year. The thing was incredibly flimsy...

All the touch-sensors are based on a rubbery foam with a metal film covering. This doesnt last very long and doesnt handle liquids very well...

The fur covering cant be completely removed. This is a major issue since you cant really wash the bastard so over time it gets grayer... and grayer... and yellowy... yeah... nasty as heck :-p

There is almost no retention on the power-cord. This means that there is very little chance of the charging-cord actually staying in the thing so you end up with flat batteries..

The thing EATS power.. it is hungry.. after about a year use it lasts about 20 minutes... Oh, and it cant be used while charging. And if you switch from AC to Battery while it is on it turns itself off... stupid methinks?

I had to skin the bastard and do brain surgery to modify the power cord to actually work.

This thing might work, but they should have spent a few dollars making it actually -work- from a technical standpoint.

Meh. They're just trying to get it hyped... and failing.

Re:Paro, crap quality (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 4 years ago | (#28066175)

Oh... and the damn power-supply isnt grounded so the fucker builds up a static charge strong enough for kids to yelp when touching it.

Saw one in Tokyo... (1)

Fenris Ulf (208159) | more than 4 years ago | (#28066781)

Saw one of these at the Miraikan (National Museum of Emerging Technology) in Tokyo. The hardest part in interacting with it was that it kept getting distracted by schoolkids... maybe my accent was too foreign.

like that's gonna work (1)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 4 years ago | (#28072177)

Take a nice, cute, cuddly stuffed animal, shove a hard robotic skeleton inside, and have the whole thing croak after 20 minutes when it runs out of power. Yeah, a real improvement.

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