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A Robot That's a Real Doll

Techstination feature for Monday, December 4, 2000

One of the most advanced robots consumers can buy... isn't for you... it's for your child. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. The technology comes from a company called iRobot... where the chairman also happens to be the director of the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab. So here's the robot we're talking about... . (sound) My Real Baby is a doll being manufactured by Hasbro. Product Development VP Lorrie Browning...

"What we've developed with iRobot is a very life-like doll. Her eyes will open and she coos and the longer a girl plays with My Real Baby, the doll gives even more responses. She'll smile and frown, laugh and burp and then says simple speech."

(sound) The facial expressions are a little un-nerving. It's almost a blessing that you can hear the motors controlling the movement. iRobot studied real babies to get the expressions just right. Hasbro says it's designed for children three and up...

"We worked with a child psychologist in the development of this which helped a lot to ensure that the play experience that we were offering to girls was one that was natural to them and not clouded by the technology."

The 95 dollar doll is rugged enough for play... just make sure it stays out of the bath tub. You can find more on the technology at Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg Radio.