Based in China and Silicon Valley, Avatarmind has created a nanny bot to help parents who are okay with robots looking after their kids.
At first they seem to be part Tellytubby, part iRobot dystopian nightmare. Although what’s the difference between leaving your kid with an iPad as opposed to a tablet that resembles human form?
The company states, ‘iPal, a companion robot for young children. iPal is 3.5 feet tall, about the height of a 5 year old child, and has 23 motors in the neck, arm, fingers, and wrists. It is shaped like a child and moves like a child. A tablet embedded in its chest runs Android applications, enables video chatting, etc. For children, iPal is a fun companion. It can talk, dance, tell stories, play games, and enable them to chat with friends, share videos, and connect to social media. For parents, iPal is a teacher for their children through speech and tablet-based programs. Parents can remotely control iPal and monitor their child’s safety on their smartphone or laptop from anywhere and at anytime.'
iPal also enables kids to live-chat with their real-life buddies, swap videos and peruse social media, constantly scanning the cloud to 'increase its knowledge on subjects of interest to your child’.
It comes with re-loaded answers for basic questions such as 'why is the sky blue?’ and is said to be programmed to mirror your kid's mood when he or she is happy and to cheer them up when sad.
Surely this would also work for lonely people as well? As touched on in the movie Robot & Frank, when a retired jewel thief puts his domestic robot to illegal use. There’s currently no release date for a Chappie version to protect your kid when driving to school in a driverless car.