Driving longer distances with an infant can be a nightmare. Nissan and baby goods retailer Akachan Honpo have joined forces to create an intelligent puppet that can safely comfort children in the back seat, allowing parents to keep their eyes on the road.
It’s a two-set robot called Iruyo and Ilyo. Iruyo is a stuffed-toy like robot, equipped with an array of sensors, that’s placed in front of the child. The stuffed robot monitors the child's face, and can entertain with, let’s say, a game of peek-a-boo. This keeps a child's spirits high and can prevent them from bursting into a cry that might not only be annoying, but also dangerous since the parent gets distracted.
Another one, the smaller Ilyo, is designed for parents. It's placed in a cup holder near the driver so that it could pick up their voice commands and channel them to the baby. It can also inform parents, who don’t see their babies, whether they are sleeping or not – Ilyo will close its eyes if the baby is napping.
A survey by Nissan and Akachan Honpo revealed that 60% of Japanese parents drive alone with their children at least once or twice a week. The majority of them aren’t able to comfort their kids while driving.
In experiments during the development stage, the companies asked parents to test Iruyo in a car interior environment that simulates driving.
“More than half of the babies' emotional state improved in a positive direction when Iruyo was activated, even when the baby was in a child seat, demonstrating Iruyo's ability to comfort a baby remotely.”
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