Needing a shoulder to cry on? Try your new robot pal
SCIENTISTS are developing a robot that can do your dishes, wash your clothes - and even be your friend, it has been revealed.
Researchers are aiming to produce a "cognitive robot companion" that looks like and can talk to humans.
The next generation of robots will be able to think for themselves and adjust their behaviour according to your mood, said experts from the Cogniron project, a Europe-wide research initiative.
In the future, people will choose a different robot friend for themselves depending on what they want the robot to look like and do, they predict.
Kerstin Dautenhahn, Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the University of Hertfordshire, said: "The robot should be able to do useful things like washing the dishes, taking the rubbish out and answering the phone.
"But having a companion also means it has to be a robot that people will like."
Automatic vacuum cleaners which move around your house are already available, but it is hoped that the project will, in less than a decade's time, develop robots that can carry out chores and be a shoulder to cry on.
Psychologists are looking at how humans interact with robots in the home, so the household robot can be polite, discreet, and not annoy their owners.
"We don't want a robot that's going to interrupt you every five minutes when you're watching your favourite TV programme," said Prof Dautenhahn.
"We could have a robot that listens to your problems.
"They can give some simple advice but they can't offer the complex emotional advice humans do.
"For most people, it seems to be that human-like companionship is the most important part of their robot, but people are still a little bit nervous about having a robot as a friend."
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