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Is This Therapeutic 'Babyloid' Cool or Creepy?

"...avoid the creepiness a realistic baby face..."

It giggles and cries, likes to be cuddled and has a soft, plush body. While it may should like the top of every 5-year-old girl's Christmas list this year, it's actually a doll for adults.

Developed by Masayoshi Kanoh, a professor at Chukyo University in Japan, the Babyloid is therapeutic robot doll that could help keep older people company, easing depressing, according to New Scientist. Kanoh presented the latest prototype at a robotics conference in Japan recently.

New Scientist has more on the baby robot's design:

Kanoh [...]the basic design -- with a simplified, smiling face -- was chosen "to avoid the creepiness a realistic baby face can have."

Babyloid can produce more than 100 different sounds. Kanoh is a father of three and he recorded the sounds of his youngest when she was an infant for the robot. During experimental studies at a retirement home, Kanoh found that users interacted with Babyloid an average of seven to eight minutes in a sitting with a total of 90 minutes per day, which helped ease symptoms of depression.

Watch the Babyloid in use:

The Babyloid costs about $25,718 as a prototype, but Kanoh hopes the cost when it reaches the commercial market will be around $1,300.

Tech Crunch reported on the Babyloid when its development was announced earlier this year, stating that Japan has the world's oldest society, where those 65 or older compose 20 percent of the population. Experiments have begun in nursing homes to evaluate the effectiveness of the baby robot.

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