Robot therapy, which uses robots as substitution for animals in "animal therapy," is a new application of robots in welfare and medical fields. A seal robot named PARO has been developed especially for the robot therapy since 1993. PARO was commercialize in Japan in 2005 and in Europe and the US in 2009, and has been used at hospitals, elderly institutions, and other facilities in about 30 countries. Recent researches revealed that robot therapy has the same effects on interacting people as like animal therapy. In 2009, PARO was certified as a "biofeedback medical device" by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in the US. PARO can be applied to various kinds of therapy as like real animals, but this presentation focuses on applications to elderly with dementia because explicit differences before and after interacting with PARO can be easily observed. In addition, PARO has been healing victims of disaster by earthquakes and explosion of nuclear plants in Japan. PARO visited about 20 evacuation shelters, and has been used at about 60 elderly institutions, hospitals, schools, and temporal house communities in the disaster area.


Dr. Takanori Shibata was born in '67 and received B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Electronic and Mechanical Engineering from Nagoya University in '89, '91, '92, respectively. He was a research scientist at AIST '93 to '98. Concurrently, he was a research scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab., MIT from '95 to '98, and a visiting research scientist at the Artificial Intelligence Lab., Univ. of Zurich in '96. Dr. Shibata has been a senior research scientist at AIST since '98. Concurrently, he was the Deputy Director for Information and Communication Technology Policy, Bureau of Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, Cabinet Office, Government of Japan from '09 to '10. His research interests include human-robot interaction, robot therapy, and humanitarian de-mining. He was certified as the inventor of a seal robot named PARO, the World's Most Therapeutic Robot, by Guinness World Records in 2002. He has received many awards including the Robot of the Year by Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan in 2006, the outstanding young person of the world by Junior Chamber International in 2004, and the Japanese Prime Minister's Award in 2003.

Dr. Takanori Shibata
National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)

Therapeutic Robot, PARO, and Mental Care for Victims of Disaster by Earthquakes in Japan
08:45-09:35, Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Keynote Speaker