What is it with Japanese robotics scientists, don't they ever interact with actual children? When Sony stuck one of its little humanoid-shaped QRIO robots in a San Diego day care center, the kids--all under two years old--interacted and "bonded" with it.
Mr Tanaka says researchers are increasingly convinced that children consider the robot not a toy or a living human being but "something between the two", a difficult idea for adults to understand.Yeah, difficult for anyone who hasn't watched a kid drag a stuffed bunny around by its ears one minute and then gently tuck it into bed the next.
Today the kid woke up from her nap and immediately started spreading blankets out on the floor, stacking them to make a "nest for the birdies." She went on to talk about how the birds will walk in the house, and then come and rest on the nest she built. [Of course, she repeated this story about one million times.]
When I thought I'd help her out, I went to get the only bird in the house, the little motorized chick from her easter basket. I put it down in the nest, and she goes, "no daddy, it's for a real birdie."
That kids have a mutable sense of reality that's influenced and defined by their interaction and feedback should be a surprise to no one who knows one. And the fact that they "bond" with a kid-sized robot that's interacting with them via remote control tells me Japanese roboticists just don't get to see their own kids enough.
Children 'bond with robots' [the australian, via wmmna, w/pix]
Previously: Amazing childcare robot mostly just sits there
Related: Beck programs Sony robots to do the white guy shuffle