Paro - The Seal That Heals
Many parents and grandparents will agree that stuffed animals make wonderful playmates for children. But Paro is much more than your average stuffed toy. Just one look at his big black eyes and charming white face will tell you he is far different from the rest. Paro was a great big hit at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show last month and is also certified by Guinness World Records as the "World's Most Therapeutic Robot."
Paro was developed in Japan specifically as a therapeutic device for the elderly and sick and injured children. The adorable baby seal responds to human touch and sound as well as temperature, light and posture. The tiny sensors, located just beneath his whiskers and fur, trigger Paro to open and close his eyes, move his flippers and wiggle. Designed to look just like a real seal, his pure white artificial fur is made of antibacterial and soil-resistant material. The interactive robot, which took 12 years to create, actually learns behavior over time and can recognize several languages.
You can see a video of it here:
While many experts agree that real pets help humans in a variety of ways, it is not always possible for animals to be present in hospitals or nursing homes. Paro provides a wonderful alternative. In January, 300 of the robotic seals were released in the United States and are currently being marketed to hospitals and nursing homes. Although he is an expensive little guy with a hefty $6000 price tag,Paro provides hours of comfort and companionship to those who need it most. Priceless!
Our guest blogger, Jace Shoemaker-Galloway, is a busy freelance writer, online safety educator and mother. As a self-described gadget geek, she is always on the lookout for cool and innovative products, especially for children