The socially interactive teddy bear robot prototype is designed to be a people-friendly interactive device that provides gentle support to bring people and ICT together in a wide range of situations. Instead of a traditional interactive device that simply transmits information, this new device has been designed to appeal to users’ emotions and create meaningful bonds with them. It autonomously performs natural gestures that make the robot appear to have a mind of its own and interacts socially through behavior such as making eye contact and mimicking the behavior of its human partner.
(1) Rich natural expressions, realistic lifelikeness
– 300 registered behaviors mapped into 2D emotion space with awareness-sleep and pleasure-displeasure.
– Nonverbal expression realized by 12 motors controlled in tandem.
→ Rich expressions with facial expression and gestures.
→ Achieves advanced and amazing lifelikeness.
(2) Friendly interaction
– Miniature camera mounted inside the bear’s nose: to make eye contact and mimic user behavior
– Thirteen touch sensors throughout the bear’s body: to respond to physical contact
(3) Picks up on the user’s state through face-to-face interaction and provides services
– The robot aims to determine the user’s state through interaction with the user and to provide appropriate network-enabled services.
Mood stimulation is a common problem in care facilities. In a trial, it was applied in a day service facility to stimulate elderly people during free-time interaction and recreation support. Most of the elderly people were stimulated as if they had met a small child; for example, most of them smiled naturally and brighter, and even someone who was usually expressionless smiled naturally and even someone who didn’t exercise did so proactively.