Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bill Gates backs Probo, the huggable children's robot

One thing Bill isn't known for is his ability to hug or be hugged, but
that could all change with his latest investment in a foundation called
Anty. The Belgium-based robotics team are hard at work on a small,
badly named robot called Probo; a green, "huggable," ALF-like creature
that will be used to interact with kids during medical treatment and
hospital stays, where it's hoped the robot will aid in easing
children's sometimes-traumatic experiences. The project is being
carried out by two teams at the University of Brussels, in conjunction
with the Anty group, with the focus on creating a "social robot"
emphasizing vision, speech, AI, and intrinsic safety. In a quote
attributed to Gates -- who has aggressively invested in children's
projects in the past -- the Microsoft
founder says "Alongside the technical research possibilities, the
prototype will be used to examine the opportunities for using Anty in
medical, social and psychological research."
Article Link (Engadget)

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