Who needs SuperNanny -- here comes RoboNanny!

Filed under: Gadgets

PaPeRo is a robotic childcare assistant from -- where else? -- Japan that will help you keep tabs on your kids. With a camera in each eye, the robot uses image recognition software to identify kids (to avoid playing with the wrong child, I guess). Using its internal mobile phone, it can send pictures to a doting-but-absent parent's cellphone. If the parent wants to be really hands-on, they can talk to their kids using the robots microphone and speakers.

All kidding aside, I could see this as a handy, mobile alternative to a network of nannycams. NEC, who developed PaPeRo along with Japanese telecommunication company NTT, is, in all fairness, looking more at the childcare market than the home nanny market. Of course, they're also looking at other possibilities, such as having it check the internet for the scores and schedule of your favorite football team and having it turn on your favorite television shows.

I've been a big proponent of robotic technology in eldercare for some time now, but hadn't really considered the possibilities with children. I could definitely see some potential here, although stairs might be an issue in our particular case. Would you ever make use of something like this? How would you feel about your child's daycare or school getting one?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.