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19 Nov, 2016 01:10

‘Cognitive being’: Robo-dog offers AI caring alternative (VIDEO)

‘Cognitive being’: Robo-dog offers AI caring alternative (VIDEO)

A UK-based company has showcased its robotic alternative to live-in care and it comes in the form of an independent-thinking, cartoonish-looking dog. With some help from its owner, it is said to be able to evolve from a “reactive mammal to a cognitive being.”

MiRO, the biomimetic robot, was filmed in action at the London studios of design company Sebastian Conran Associates wagging its tail and making sense of its surroundings.

The video shows two of these autonomous robo-dogs interacting with each other as they move around the room.

The robo-pets are being marketed as low-cost companions for elderly people, essentially taking on the role of carer when there is no one else around.

If you have a fall or you have an emergency event in your home, it could call for help and it could help the people that are coming, letting them know what’s going on,” Sebastian Conran said.

The robot will notice a break in routine and can alert others to an emergency by working as part of a system which includes a central hub that the robot can send a signal to and a wristband which the person can slap to confirm they are ok.

On other occasions MiRO works independently to provide companionship and emotional engagement to the person.

MiRO has an advanced brain and can learn from its surroundings and develop a unique personality, according to its creators. Its development is gradual, evolving from “a simple reactive mammal to a cognitive being.”

In the future, the company hopes to be able to give MiRO a detachable arm and build in facial recognition technology to make the cyborg dog even more helpful to its owner.

MiRO was designed in conjunction with Sheffield University. Conran explained that instead of creating Artificial Intelligence through algorithms, the developers were “reverse engineering” nature itself.

READ MORE: Russian android plans to redefine how humans and robots talk to each other

The main idea behind MiRO, however, is companionship and the creators hope the friendly robotic companion will help alleviate loneliness and fear in those otherwise living alone.

One distinct advantage MiRO has over the, perhaps more cuddly, real pet is there will be no need to scoop the poop after this bionic canine.