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Saturday, March 19, 2005

I, Vacuum Cleaner

Childcare Robot PaPeRo

According to this article ("NEC Realizes Enhanced Version of its PaPeRo Robots") at PhysOrg,
NEC has been engaged in the development of a childcare robot as one application of its partner-type robot. It has thus developed "Childcare Robot PaPeRo" that boasts enhanced security features and functions enabling it to play with and watch over children. The Childcare Robot was developed by using one part of the technological functions of PaPeRo 2005 and in particular by focusing on interaction between the robot and children.
And further,
There is great expectation surrounding the development of partner-type robots, which will be able to live with us and assist us in our daily lives. Although a variety of robots have been developed in response to such expectations, they still possess insufficient performance in terms of speech and image recognition, in addition to their interaction being monotonous and boring. Therefore, development of a robot, which enables natural and enjoyable communication, as well as a wider variety of interactions, has been highly sought after and desired.
This is all great - I love robots and the idea of robots. But the bottom line is, given the intelligence level of todays computers - namely, zilch - having one of these things watch over your children is like leaving the vacuum cleaner in charge. Except that in this case the vacuum cleaner is networked, so that you can use your mobile to see and hear the kids remotely.

Give NEC and companies like it all credit for trying to bring "robots" to market. But clearly there is a very long way to go.

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