Fujitsu goes from laptops to teddy bear bots

Fujitsu, best-known for laptops, is working on cute bear-shaped bots to provide comfort and interaction at nursing homes.

Fujitsu teddy bear robot
A Fujitsu employee demonstrates a teddy bear-shaped "social" robot at a nursing home in suburban Tokyo. Click for a larger image. AFP Photo/Yoshikazu Tsuno

Those fearing the much-talked-about takeover by our future robot overlords need not worry about this teddy bear bot from Fujitsu--unless, of course, it's really a killer automaton disguised as a cute, furry animal. We're pretty sure it's not, though.

Japan-based Fujitsu, which is far better-known for laptops than for fuzzy bear-bots, designed the little guy to provide interaction and comfort to patients at nursing homes, as well as entertainment to much younger crowds.

This isn't the first helper robot we've seen for seniors--you may recall Honda's walking assistant for the elderly and Charlie the rolling robot that takes rest home residents' vital signs, delivers their medication reminders, and calls for assistance if they fall. But it's definitely in line for the cutest (along with Paro, the therapeutic interactive baby-seal robot , of course).

The Fujitsu robot, which has yet to be named, has 12 actuators that move its head, face, hands, and legs; a Webcam in its nose that can recognize human facial expressions; and 13 touch sensors that can detect touch.

"We want to offer an object that can become part of the family, nursing home, or school and that can benefit humans," a Fujitsu researcher told Agence France-Presse during a preview of the bot near Tokyo this week. "We really want it to look natural."

The bear has a rather impressive repertoire of 300 actions, including giggling, snoring, waving its paws, and, if the photo is any indication, tuning out politicians yammering in the background.

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Want affordable gadgets for your student?

Everyday finds that will make students' lives easier: chargers, cables, headphones, and even a bona fide gadget or two!