19/01/2012 10:04 GMT | Updated 19/01/2012 10:12 GMT

Babyloid Robot Comforts Elderly Sufferers Of Depression

Who do you turn to when you feel depressed, or even just a little down? A friend or a pet or perhaps?

In Japan, elderly sufferers of depression can now turn to Babyloid, the robot baby designed to help ease depression.

Masayoshi Kano, a Japanese designer, created the robot for senior citizens who are prone to depression, based on the idea that they want something to do or care for in order to feel useful.

The robot mimics the sounds and movements of a baby, including blinks and smiles.

Babyloid coos and sheds blue LED tears when it's sad or blushes pink in the cheek when it's happy.

Just like a well-behaved baby, it will fall asleep when rocked, giving important positive feedback to its patient companion.

If it doesn't look real, at least the Babyloid sounds real.

Babyloid inventor Masayoshi Kanoh recorded the sounds of his youngest child to make the robot sound realistic.

Tests in some retirement homes show that people played with Babyloid for an average of 7-8 minutes at a time.

At £17,000 for each prototype Babyloid, that's an expensive hug.

In 2011, robot seals were used to comfort elderly victims of the Tsunami. The seals, called PARO were shipped the retirement homes which were forced to evacuate during the Tsunami, and cost $150 a month to lease.