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Scientists hope to inject robo-cat with AI to help seniors

科學家研發AI機器貓 輔助長者生活

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

Imagine a cat that can keep a person company, doesn’t need a litter box and can remind an aging relative to take her medicine or help find her eyeglasses.

想像一下,有一種貓,完全不需要砂盆,牠會陪伴主人,提醒年長的家族成員吃藥,還會幫她找眼鏡。

That’s the vision of toymaker Hasbro and scientists at Brown University, who have received a three-year, US$1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to find ways to add artificial intelligence to Hasbro’s “Joy for All” robotic cat.

為了將這個想像化為現實,玩具商哈斯波公司與布朗大學的科學家攜手展開研究,打算將玩具公司現有的「大家樂」機器貓升級改造為人工智慧寵物。該計畫已得到美國的國家科學基金會為期三年、總計一百萬美元的補助。

The cat, which has been on the market for two years, is aimed at seniors and meant to act as a “companion.’’ It purrs and meows, and even appears to lick its paw and roll over to ask for a belly rub.

「大家樂」機器貓已經上市兩年,設計的目的是陪伴長者。這種貓會發呼嚕聲,喵喵叫,還會舔自己的腳掌,並翻過身來露出肚子討摸。

The Brown-Hasbro project is aimed at developing additional capabilities for the cats to help older adults with simple tasks, such as finding lost objects, or reminding the owner to call someone or go to a doctor’s appointment.

Bertram Malle, a professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown, said they don’t want to make overblown promises of what the cat can do, something he and his fellow researcher — computer science professor Michael Littman — said they’ve seen in other robots on the market. They hope to make a cat that would perform a small set of tasks very well.

哈斯波公司與布朗大學所組成的研究團隊希望該產品能針對長者的生活需要提供簡單的輔助,例如尋找遺失的物品,提醒主人打電話或看醫生。布朗大學的認知科學、語言學、心理學教授伯爾川‧馬勒說,他的團隊不會去誇大機器貓的功能以製造噱頭。他和資訊科學教授麥可‧李特曼說,很多機器人產品都被過度渲染。他們理想的機器貓不需具備太多功能,只需要把有限的工作做好。

“It’s not going to iron and wash dishes,’’ said Malle. “Nobody expects them to have a conversation. Nobody expects them to move around and fetch a newspaper. They’re really good at providing comfort.’’

馬勒說:「我們不是要設計一個會洗碗的機器貓。沒有人會期望它要說話或是幫忙拿報紙。機器貓應該是要讓人感覺有個伴,能夠撫慰人心的。」

They also want to keep it affordable, just a few hundred dollars. The current version costs US$100 (approximately NT$3,000).

研究團隊希望將機器貓維持在偏低價位,只要幾百塊美元就可以買到。現有產品的售價是美金一百元(約台幣三千元)。

Source article: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/lang/archives/2017/12/24/2003684512

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