New robot is able to fall in

By Moon Ye-bin,The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

SEOUL — A robot which can fall in love with its owner could help those suffering from loneliness. Funktionide, a pillow-like robot invented by German designer Stefan Ulrich, has special sensors that react to human touch to show when it is happy or in love. Funktionide can wrap around its owner and even give them a cuddle. This conceptual shape-changing robot is used to relieve loneliness, using artificial muscle technology.

Ulrich conducted research into plastics that change shape when an electric current is applied, called electro active polymers. Funktionide reacts to pressure, skin temperature and color to produce a response like a human reaction. According to reports, Ulrich believes that one day robots could completely replace the need for a boyfriend or a girlfriend. “People already bury themselves in possessions and shield themselves from real life with technology. So if robots and objects can fulfill all their emotional needs as well, why do they need other humans?” said Ulrich. In August, Telenoid R1 was invented by Japanese Hiroshi Ishiguro. The robot is the size of a small baby but has no arms or legs. Telenoid is a sensitive communication device, which the robot picks up the user’s movement through a webcam and then copies it.