Toy cats may receive artificial intelligence to aid seniors
"That's the vision of toymaker Hasbro and scientists at Brown University, who have received a three-year, $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to find ways to add artificial intelligence to Hasbro's "Joy for All" robotic cat .
The cat, which has been on the market for two years, is aimed at seniors and meant to act as a "companion." It purrs and meows, and even appears to lick its paw and roll over to ask for a belly rub. The Brown-Hasbro project is aimed at developing additional capabilities for the cats to help older adults with simple tasks.
Researchers at Brown's Humanity-Centered Robotics Initiative are working to determine which tasks make the most sense, and which can help older adults stay in their own homes longer, such as finding lost objects, or reminding the owner to call someone or go to a doctor's appointment.
..."Cats don't generally talk to you," Littman said, and it might be upsetting if it did.
They're looking at whether the cat could move its head in a certain way to get across the message it's trying to communicate, for example.
In the end, they hope that by creating an interaction in which the human is needed, they could even help stem feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety.
"The cat doesn't do things on its own. It needs the human, and the human gets something back," Malle said. "That interaction is a huge step up. Loneliness and uselessness feelings are hugely problematic.""