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Robotics Science

Robot Becomes One of the Kids 186

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers have found that toddlers treat a small robot as a peer rather than a toy. A team from the University of California, San Diego, placed Sony's QRIO in a classroom of kids aged 18 months to 2 years and watched them interact. Over time the children grew to treat the robot as one of them — playing games with the robot, hugging it, and covering it up with a blanket when its batteries ran down."
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Robot Becomes One of the Kids

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  • Re:So? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thornburg ( 264444 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:55PM (#21259043)
    Mod parent "Didn't RFTA". (aka Overrated)

    The researches had a control robot that didn't interact but was otherwise the same, and the kids treated them very differently.

    Half your point is valid, but the flippant comment is inaccurate and demonstrates that you didn't take the 90 seconds necessary to read the very short article.
  • Re:yeah.. (Score:4, Informative)

    by bcharr2 ( 1046322 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:55PM (#21259055)

    Most young children also treat inanimate dolls or stuffed animals as peers

    You raise a good point. The study also utilized another robot that simulated a inanimate doll or stuffed animal. The article states:

    The children also treated QRIO with more care and attention than a similar-looking but inanimate robot that the researchers called Robby, which acted as a control in the experiment. Once they had grown accustomed to QRIO, they hugged it much more than Robby, who also received far more rough treatment.
  • by rumli ( 1066212 ) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @05:13PM (#21259289)
    Children have been hugging and caring for teddy-bears and dolls since forever. Dolls that talk or move get more attention. What's new?

The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -- Niels Bohr