Sunday, September 23, 2007

Senior citizens in Japan are not ready to welcome their robot overlords

"Most (elderly) people are not interested in robots. They see robots as overly-complicated and unpractical. They want to be able to get around their house, take a bath, get to the toilet and that's about it," said Ruth Campbell, a geriatric social worker at the University of Tokyo.

Japanese manufacturers have learned the hard way that the elderly want everyday products adapted to their needs -- easy to read for those with poor eyesight, big buttons for people with trembling hands and clear audio for the hard of hearing.

Among the most high-profile failures was Hopis, a furry pink dog-like robot capable of monitoring blood sugar, blood pressure and body temperature.

Faced with poor sales, its manufacturer Sanyo stopped production of the robot dog and instead focused on utilitarian devices for the elderly such as height-adjustable countertops and phones with jumbo-sized keys.

Link. Via Core77.