Right now, we can run around with our dogs, play hide and seek with them, and have them lick off our faces. But in the years to come, our pets may be made up of plastics and metals instead of flesh and blood.
Animal robotics companies are beginning to produce pets that are very “well-behaved.” A perfect example is the Aibo. This robotic dog is the dream dog of every home. It engages very well and politely with visitors (it greets people pleasantly). He hardly barks at them and is always happy to follow the owners wherever they may go.
This robotic dog, manufactured by Sony, was designed to play the exact same role normal dogs play, only that it is made up of metal.
3 Examples of Current Animal Robotics
Other examples of robotic animals include:
PARO (a therapeutic robot): Several studies have shown that the presence of animals in hospitals or health care facilities can have a positive and lasting effect on the patients. However, a lot of controversies and questions arose due to the fact that several persons may not just like animals or may be allergic to them. Therefore, PARO was created to solve that need.
It acts as a therapeutic companion to patients and so far, there have been a lot of positive reports on the psychological benefits these patients have gained, especially those dealing with dementia. PARO is able to remember names, be sensitive to touch, and repeats action that it senses that the patient likes.
WildCat: No, this is not the regular wild cat you are used to. This is manufactured by Boston Dynamics, a leading company when it comes to Animal Robotics. Their high-level technology has been able to manufacture sophisticated animal robots that can act similarly to real-life animals. WildCat is no exception to their brilliant works. This robot is able to run very fast and has even broken the record set by MIT in 1989 by exceeding the 21km per hour feat.
RoboBee: How would you feel when you are outside enjoying a cold glass of juice and then you see a bee hovering over it? There is a very high chance that you might even end up throwing that drink away!
Everyone knows of the economic importance of honeybees and how they help to pollinate one-third of the food we consume. But recently, parasites and diseases have depleted their population. The Harvard RoboBee project seeks to develop an aerial autonomous vehicle to eliminate the reduction of the bee population by parasites. They will be able to respond to several environmental factors and coordinate flight by itself.
All these are wonderful innovations, aren’t they? But what does the future of animal robotics hold in the grand scheme of robotics news?
Research has shown that owners have sentimental attachment to these robots, even going as far as holding burials for them when they get damaged. Human beings are very social creatures, so we tend to attach value to things that connect socially with us. Just like there was a lot of discomfort and controversies surrounding humanoid robots, there are also concerns about animal robots. The only thing that separates robots from humans is emotional sentiments, and while they can help us in daily struggles, they cannot be able to replace human connection and interaction.