An alternately terrifying and adorable robotic bear has been launched in Japan as an aid to the elderly.
‘Robear’ developed by Riken Institute and Sumitomo Riko, is designed to be able to lift immobile and frail medical patients and transfer them to a wheelchair, a bed or a bath.
But it is also specifically designed to be cute, with a big face and sweet little bear ears, in order to be approachable and non-threatening.
"As Japan is ageing with fewer children, the problem of a shortage in caregivers for the elderly is getting serious," Riken said in a statement. "Expectations are high that robotics will help resolve this problem.”
AFP reports that the robots are necessary partly because Japan has one of the fastest-ageing populations in the world, with few young people to look after the elderly.
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Yahoo has more details on the design, but some fairly amazing pictures are below.