Man's New Best Friend?

Meet the latest in Japanese robotica: a droid that cares ... for old people. A team of scientists at Riken's biomimetic-control research center in Nagoya has developed RI-MAN (for Robot Interacting with Human) to look after the elderly. Standing 5-ft. 2-in. tall, the robot can hoist 77 lbs; its 320 pressure sensors and soft silicone skin allow the robot to safely carry a human body. RI-MAN can also pinpoint where sound is coming from and "smell" eight scents--including urine, which signals "diaper change." But RI-MAN needs a brainpower boost before it's ready for consumers. It can't distinguish faces yet, for example....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!