August 31, 2005

Robot Dog – Man’s Best Friend or a No-Fat Nag?

LONDON -- It could be a dream or a nightmare -- scientists have created a robotic dog that tells you when it's time for your daily walk.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States plan to recruit Sony's "canine entertainment robot" Aibo into the obesity police.

The dog would be connected by radio to the bathroom scales, a pedometer and a personal organizer in which the owner would note his daily food intake, New Scientist magazine reported on Wednesday.

Asked "How am I?" the robot would either jump excitedly, play funky music and flash colored lights, or flop down and play a dirge, according to whether its owner has followed his or her diet.

"It is promising to look at mobile robots for defining behavioral change," computer scientist Tim Bickmore at Boston University's School of Medicine was quoted as saying.

The plans for the robotic dog -- which need never be let out or fed -- are due to be presented to a conference in Tokyo on September 11, the magazine said.