Robo-dogs not just a toy

Some people may scoff at robotic pets, like the Aibo, and say that these things made of plastic and batteries will never provide the same level of companionship as a flesh-and-blood golden retriever. Well, a recent study just might be proving these nay-sayers wrong.

The veterinary school over at Purdue University looked into the interactions that children and teenagers have with Aibos, and compared these relationships with those that participants had with real pets. A full seventy percent of those given Aibos reported that the robo-pets could make good companions. They tried a similar trial with a group of seniors and discovered that even those from the older set seemed less depressed after interacting with an Aibo.

Purists will still say that nothing will replace the wet slobbery kiss or the warm furry hugs of real dogs, but Aibo lovers can now counter that their companion is just as “real” as any cocker spaniel. And there’s no need to pick up anything after an Aibo “does its business.”


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