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Japan's Babyloid Fights Elderly Depression

Being the world's number one center for robotics, it's no surprise that researchers in Japan have developed the Babyloid. This infant-like robot is not just any ordinary baby-bot: the Babyloid is a therapeutic robot designed specifically to relieve and treat symptoms of depression in the elderly.

Taking baby doll therapy to the next level, the Babyloid encourages patients to take an active care-giving role that makes makes the patient feel important and gives the elderly a robotic companion to help relieve any depressing thoughts and pains.

Aside from it's eerily blend of realistic and robotic looks, the Babyloid measures 17 inches in length and weighs 4.8 pounds, similar to a real baby. To add to the realistic touch of the Babyloid, the robot's arms are capable of wiggling, its eyelids blinking, and its mouth can even open. In addition, the Babyloid can simulate real human emotions via LEDs that create illusions of tears or red cheeks.

The Babyloid's inventor, Kanou Masayoshi hopes that his robot will be able to stimulate emotional

responses in patients, something that will hopefully fight off symptoms of depression that are especially seen within Japan's elderly.

The Babyloid is already being used in experiments in nursing homes around Japan and Masayoshi hopes to have 10 additional prototypes produced within the next two years.

Unfortunately there's no ETA on when or if the Babyloid will land in other countries so don't expect to purchase one for your grandparents any time soon.

Photos: Robonable [JP]