Can a Robot Take Care of You?

At the University of Connecticut, a robot named Nao is learning how to take care of elderly patients. The toddler-sized machine is being programmed to determine how often it should remind its charges to take their medication, when to notify an overseer and when to just let the patients enjoy some autonomy.

The married researchers behind the project –- philosopher Susan Anderson of the University of Connecticut and her husband, computer scientist Michael Anderson of the University of Hartford -– say they’re trying to create an “ethical robot.”

Nao, a sleek creature with glowing eyes, represents a combination of basic ethical principles, machine learning techniques, and artificial intelligence science. It looks partly cute and partly creepy, walking in lolling steps and speaking in its mechanical voice: “It is time to take your medication.”

The Andersons’ work, still in its early stages, was featured in Scientific American in October. Check out Nao in action here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLdvCDFriTQ

(Thanks AA).

(See the original article here: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/technology/2010/11/robot-trained-to-care-for-the-elderly-at-university-of-connecticut.html)

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