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Robot Caregivers

Japan's rapidly aging population inspires engineers to design humanoid robots to care for the elders

Machines caring for human beings? That's no longer such a futuristic notion; in fact, it has already happened. In Japan, where a growing older population now outnumbers the country's younger citizens, engineers have begun designing humanoid robots to care for the elderly. And the concept may be coming to our shores sooner than you think.

See also: The aging of the world's population.


Audrey Mitchell pictured with Celia, the robot, uses it to talk to her family.

Machines caring for humans are no longer a thing of the future, but rather a reality of today. — Photo: Chris Mueller/Redux Pictures

One such automated aide is Asimo, developed by Honda. Able to move much like a human being — and endowed with a high level of dexterity — Asimo could easily step into the role of companion/caregiver. Indeed, the growing use of this and other robots as caregivers inspired the movie Robot & Frank, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and is slated for theatrical release later this year.


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