The robotic sector usually comes up with solutions to most of the problems faced by humans. The robots prove to be useful in many settings and are capable of carrying out a number of tasks that are too difficult for humans. Robots are able to withstand extreme weather and can carry out tasks in surroundings that have harsh environmental conditions, which the humans are not able to bear.
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Nowadays, robots are also being used in the medical field to provide better treatment and carry out procedures that require machine like precision. They are now being introduced in the education field as well, especially for kids with special needs since they require special care and attention.
Recently a new robot was developed by Danika Passler Bates who is a student in the Department of Computer Science and also the recipient of Undergraduate Summer Research Award (URA). The name of this robot is Snugglebot and details about this robot are published in IEEE Spectrum Magazine.
Snugglebot is a different robot. Instead of taking care of others, the user needs to give this robot constant love and attention. This cuddly companion needs to be taken care of, kept warm and needs cuddles. This is an engaging robot and is physically comforting. This robot contains a tusk that lights up and wiggles when it needs attention and shows appreciation when it is being hugged.
Danika Passler Bates when speaking about the Snugglebot said, “SnuggleBot is a cuddly companion robot designed to help everyday people living with loneliness and related feelings. Existing companion robots are either not used or are used in clinical settings and are not accessible due to their high cost, so we aimed to build the simplest robot we could that would actually help people.”
This robot helps people to feel better, especially those who are in isolation due to the pandemic. According to her research caring for something such as a pet can help improve a person’s wellness and motivation levels. The user needs to take care of Snugglebot by keeping the microwavable compress located in its pouch warm.
Speaking about the design and looks of the robot Danika Passler Bates said, “I wanted a simple way for the robot to communicate without needing language. The horn lights up with different colors depending on the robot’s current needs. (It is also cute).”
Danika Passler Bates is presently working on a senior project under the guidance of Dr Jim Young from the Department of Computer Science, Human Computer Interaction (HCI Lab). Danika Passler Bates is currently continuing on the development of a social robot that is capable of being deployed into people’s home. Also, she is continuing with her research and carrying on examining the way people interact with the robot and if it is capable of making them feel better.
This will be very helpful for those who are suffering from loneliness due to isolation and need a companion so that they don’t feel so alone. Also it has the potential to improve their mental health and prove to be a companion.
It will be interesting to see how this study takes shape and which all sectors it will be integrated into. Also, how it will be able to cater to the medical field.