Social Robots Are Coming to a Hotel or Hospital Near You

Technology is making robots more human-like––and perhaps more "loveable" as a result. 

In 2006, NAO was born weighing in at about 12 pounds and 22 inches long. Ten years later, our little electronic friends has not grown in stature, but he’s developing new talents every day. This interactive humanoid robot, created by Aldebaran Robotics, can be personalized to fit specific application needs. So far, he’s performed on stage, welcomed hotel guests as a multilingual concierge and worked with autistic children to provide positive encouragement with no judgment.

Now, NAO has a little sister named Zora. She has her brother’s looks, but her mission is a little different: Zora works as a healthcare assistant with a focus on senior citizens. Based on a software application from Belgian-based QBMT, Zora, like other social robots, is equipped with sensors, cameras, loudspeakers, microphones, and is designed to perform human-like gestures, such as blinking, maintaining eye contact and moving.

Zora’s unique software gives new life to Aldebaran’s NAO. It has successfully entered the very challenging market of health and human care with more than 200 Zoras adopted in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, geriatric and pediatric units, retirement communities, as well as centers for autistic children around the world. And, like her big brother, Zora has been integrated into several hotels. Its creators hope it will now grow in the hospitality sector as well as enter the retail industry soon.

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