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November 17, 2017
Q. When do machines make a point of adopting good manners, sociability and patience? Just ask Spritebot.
A. Robots already perform many traditionally human tasks, from vacuuming to surgery, but Spritebot and his kind may soon become Grandma's special helpers. Last year, IBM and Rice University unveiled the Multi-Purpose Eldercare Robot Assistant (MERA), a customized version of Japan's Pepper robot — an ivory-colored android about the height of a 7-year-old that's already being used as a friendly assistant in Japanese stores and homes, says Catherine Caruso in Scientific American magazine. MERA, as an at-home companion for the elderly, “records and analyzes videos of a person's face and calculates vital signs such as heart and breathing rates…; it can even converse with a patient and answer health questions.”
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