Paro has already been tested in simulations of missions to Mars, and the results have been very good.
Leaving Earth on a space mission sounds exciting, but it has its consequences. In addition to undergo a series of demanding physical teststhe teams of astronauts that embark on these adventures face situations that would affect anyone’s mental health.
In space you are faced with absolute nothingness, and it is impossible not to feel alone when the rest of the world is hundreds of thousands of kilometers away. Looking ahead to the future missions that await colonize marsa Japanese company has decided to face the problem, and its solution with these adorable stuffed seals.
Although they may seem like a child’s toy, these little seals have proven to be much more than they seem. To begin with, it is not a stuffed animal, it is called “Paro” and it is a fully equipped robot that uses artificial intelligence and is able to respond to touch, recognize voices and sound stimuli, and even remember people’s faces. They are robots that were designed in 1998 by Takanori Shibataresearcher of Tokyo National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technologyand which have since demonstrated their therapeutic effectiveness in patients with all kinds of disorders, from depression to dementia.
It is much more than a stuffed animal, it is a complex emotional support robot
Paro measures 57 centimeters from nose to tail and is designed to be active during the day and “sleep” at night. The latest versions are equipped with dual 32-bit processors and 12 touch sensors that allow her to react when someone touches or caresses her. Has touch sensitive whiskers and a plush outer cover that gives it a soft and fluffy touch. It is highly huggable, as you can imagine.
The company believes that Paro will be able to accompany astronauts on their space journeysand provide them with emotional support NASA missions bound for Mars. Paro is already being tested in the simulations being carried out by the Mars Society in the USA, where several astronauts undergo survival tests in an environment that tries to emulate the surface of the Red Planet. In these environments, astronauts train what it would be like to walk on Mars, grow their own food, and perform first aid drills in case of an accident on the actual mission.
Paro accompanied the astronauts for two weeks, and a report issued by the company Paro Robots itself revealed that The results were very good:
“We studied how Paro mitigated feelings of stress and isolation in the crew, and this data will be useful in supporting research on future space missions. Half the crew were with Paro for the first week, and the rest for the second, and both groups thoroughly enjoyed his company.”