New technologies are having a profound impact on us all, but for our much loved pets life generally goes on very much as normal. Could it be however that technology has finally caught up with our loyal companions, Fido the dog, and Tibbens, the much loved (by Kent Law School students) feline creation of Professor Geoffrey Samuel?
A European Commission funded research project MOBISERV has been working on a way to help support the independent living of older people by developing a personalised robot companion.
The robot talks, and is mobile with its own set of wheels. It is equipped with cameras, sensors, and a central touch screen. The developers believe the robot may for example be used to remind users when its time for their medicine, or suggest visiting friends they have not seen for a while. Obviously the possibilities for such a robot are huge, and a fully interactive machine can be envisaged as more than likely. I wonder how such a robot may view a conversation about how things were better in the old days though!
Where does this leave Fido and Tibbens? Whether Robo-mate will take their place as companions remains to be seen, but in the next few years don’t be surprised when you visit elderly relatives that they have acquired an additional companion.