The Fribo Robot Helps Young People Stay Social by Sharing Information

 - Apr 9, 2018
References: spectrum.ieee.org & theverge
The Fribo robot is a small automaton that was purposefully built to combat the feelings of loneliness and isolation that often stem from living alone. Developed by a team of Korean researchers, Fribo was recently presented at the ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction. The showing of the Fribo robot was coupled with a paper describing the work of scientists who tested the robot for over a month. Fribo performed quite well in this test, with participants noticing increased productivity, sociability and energy just by having Fribo in their lives.

Unlike companion robots, Fribo is not meant to be a partner to users but instead a facilitator of communication with other people. The robot does this by listening for activity in users' homes and encouraging them to talk via chat apps. Sensors and microphones in the Fribo robot pick up domestic activities and then share this information anonymously to a group chat that the user is part of. Once in the group chat, all users can respond to the information and can easily strike up conversations with one another.