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The companion robot market is gradually opening up. Is that reliable?

The companion robot market is gradually opening up. Is that reliable?

This companion robot can sing, chat, do laundry, cook, call the police, and guard the house against theft...

Recently, in the face of China's increasingly severe population aging and the plight of China's only child supporting their parents, smart elderly care seems to be a good way to solve China's elderly care problems.

Compared with staying in nursing homes, more people still prefer to provide for the elderly at home. Is it reliable for companion robots to provide for the aged?

Population aging is accelerating, and the companion robot market is gradually opening-up

In the latest 2022 "Government Work Report", the term "pension" has been mentioned many times. Frequently appearing keywords also mean that "elderly care" has become a key task this year and in the future.

China is indeed accelerating into an aging society. Looking at the whole country, the number of retirees in many provinces has reached "millions." Beijing, Jiangxi, Inner Mongolia, and other places all have more than 3 million people, Guangdong has more than 7 million people, and Zhejiang has as many as 9.15 million people. According to the results of the seventh census, the population over the age of 60 in my country has reached 260 million, accounting for 18.7% of the total population, and the proportion has increased by 5.44 percentage points. The population over the age of 65 accounts for 13.5% of the total population. After stepping into the "longevity era", there is anxiety about retirement.

According to the classification standard of "Population Aging and Its Socioeconomic Consequences" issued by the United Nations, when the number of elderly people aged 65 and above in a country or region accounts for more than 7% of the total population, it means that the country or region has entered the aging process. When the proportion reaches 14%, it can be called a deeply aging society. Concerning such standards, it can be seen that my country has basically entered a deeply aging society.

Recently, Panasonic and the Japan's Toyohashi University of Technology jointly developed the healing robot "NICOBO", which has a built-in camera, can recognize faces, and is also equipped with a microphone for recognizing voices. When users talk to it, the robot can communicate with simple words. NICOBO also imitates human speech and wags its tail. When petted, it will squint its eyes comfortably like a pet. It is very cute and can bring companionship to the elderly or single people.

The latest companion robot Vera 3 developed by Shenlan Technology has a unique DROS distributed interactive operating system independently developed and designed, which supports multi-modal recognition. Vera has the unique function of knowing family members and the home environment. When people call "Vera" in the kitchen, bedroom, study, and other rooms at home, he will locate the location according to the sound and move to the side autonomously, always on call. Vera can also play music and video; control home appliances; remote voice and video; provide life information; health consultation, etc., and can also monitor potential safety hazards at home in real-time. , to win precious time for timely handling of emergencies, and provide 24-hour security for families.

This companion robot named metaCat is adorable.It's produced by Elephant Robotics Its dynamic eyes can wink, blink and shrink, and its marshmallow fur relaxes people when people pets and hug it. Its high-quality acrylic fur is soft to touch and easy to clean. Multiple layers of skin with different lengths give me a comfy, cozy, warm feeling. With deep learning based on animal motion and interaction, metaCat can interact with people like real animals. It can relieve owner's exhaustion, relax nerves and relieve stress by simply embracing. It responds to owner's movements as soon as touching it. And it's so interesting because of its interactive meowing and purring. Elephant Robotics insists that the electronic cat toy metaCat's meowing & 25-150 Hertz* purring relax people's nerves, according to Elizabeth von Muggenthaler, president-acoustics at the Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina. To be honest, I was skeptical at first. It meowed and purred with every touch, making people feel that not only did it make me feel warm, but I could also give him a sense of comfort. I got a little hooked on this kind of interaction without noticing.

Use "smart old-age care" to hold up the happy sunset red

It is worth pointing out that whether it is the development of companion robots or the advancement of robots for the elderly, it must be based on a reasonable conceptual premise. On the one hand, from the very beginning, it is necessary to prevent robotic elderly care from being merely positioned as a fashionable intelligent elderly care industry. Once it only focuses on benefits, it will easily become a benefit for the advantaged group and a burden for the disadvantaged group.

On the other hand, robot escorts must complement human escorts, and robots cannot be used to replace family affection, professional services, and social care. In the decision-making process, technologies such as remote communication robots and virtual reality should be used so that people related to the escort can intervene and regulate.

Companion robot escorts should be hyperlinks and multipliers of human care, rather than sad machine cages and cold controllers. Everyone will get old, and the elderly are everyone. Individuals and society cannot use robots to provide care for the elderly to avoid the necessary care for the elderly, let alone make them fall into a more isolated situation.

At present, the application research of intelligent companion robots is mainly concentrated in scientific research institutions and nursing homes. However, according to data from the Civil Affairs Bureau, the number of elderly people over the age of 60 in the country exceeds 240 million, which translates to an average of every four laborers supporting one elderly person. In addition, the problem of the aging population in our country is increasing day by day. In the face of the increasingly large group of empty-nest elderly people, the disproportionate proportion of elderly care institutions, frequent emergencies, and other problems, it can be speculated that intelligent companion robots may become the mainstream in the future. There will be more and more adoption of intelligent companion robots so that they can enjoy their old age comfortably.

Epilogue

Although intelligent elderly companion robots have deficiencies in humanization, intelligence, cost, deep learning and safety, etc., with the continuous deepening of research and expansion of related disciplines, to find out the cause of the problem and give countermeasures, intelligent elderly care robots may be It will slowly enter our life in the near future and become an indispensable member of the elderly family.

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