A company is creating robotic companion animals “designed to delight and improve the quality of life for anyone who cannot have a live pet.”
The robot, called Tombot, was originally designed to meet the specific medical needs of seniors with dementia and many who have invested have family members who suffer from dementia, but, according to a press release, Tombot Puppies have also been pre-ordered for children with autism, and adults with high impact chronic pain, major depressive disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD, as well as for those facing long inpatient stays and arduous outpatient treatments at hospitals.
Another news release from the company relates that scientists estimate as many as 97 percent of seniors with dementia suffer from behavioral and psychological symptoms of the disease (BPSD), and studies have shown that such symptoms can be reduced if they can form an emotional attachment, particularly to an object or animal.
It was basically for this reason, and following consumer testing with groups of up to 700 seniors with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, that the team at Tombot set out to create a robotic animal with a “hyper-realistic appearance, feel and behaviors” with a high capacity “to elicit an emotional attachment with seniors suffering from these debilitating diseases.”
For the hyper-realistic appearance, Tombot selected Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, which provided the artistic design services for the robots.
The kickstarter campaign page for the Tombot, which has raised over $60,000 of a $20,000 goal, notes that the Tombot also responds to voice commands and touch, such as petting.
So, how realistic does the Tombot look and act? You can judge for yourself by watching the following short video, which also provides background about how Tom Stevens, the CEO and founder of Tombot, became interested in creating robotic canines for those with dementia.
According to the Tombot website, the first litter of Tombot puppies has sold out, but those interested can pre-order a Tombot puppy for $399.
For more information, visit: https://tombot.com/