Blogging Scientific American: Could Robots Become Your Toddler's New Best Friend?

Blogging Scientific American: Could Robots Become Your Toddler's New Best Friend?

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Carrie McBride
Dec 3, 2007

Rosie the Maid, R2-D2 & C-3PO, Vicki of Small Wonder, Johnny 5, Conky 2000, the Iron Giant - who will your child's robotic friend be?

Our mother recently declared that she loved her iron. And we will admit to being overly fond of our immersion blender. But scientists have long questioned how strong a bond we could really form with a robot. A recent study among toddlers, however, shows that young children are open to such a relationship.

QRIO – a 2-foot robot programmed with social functions (and plenty of dance moves) spent 45 sessions (over 5 months) with a group of toddlers in San Diego. Increasingly the toddlers began to interact with the robot and treat it like a peer.

"Our results suggest that current robot technology is surprisingly close to achieving autonomous bonding and socialization with human toddlers for significant periods of time," University of California, San Diego, researchers reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.

To find out more about the experiment, read the full article.

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