For safety purposes, RIBA’s entire body is covered in a soft skin molded from an advanced lightweight urethane foam developed by TRI. The soft skin is designed to ensure the comfort of patients while they are being carried. In addition, the arm joints yield slightly under pressure — much like human arms do — further increasing the level of comfort and safety.
The robotic bear can also recognize faces and voices, as well as respond to spoken commands. Using visual and audio data from its surroundings, RIBA can identify co-workers, determine the position of those nearby, and respond flexibly to changes in the immediate environment. The motors operate silently, and a set of omni-directional wheels allow the robot to navigate tight spaces inside hospitals and nursing facilities.
Already in 2007, a similar project appeared on the Japanese market: Romi Robot. Her body was developed by Samsung and her brain by Robot-Hosting.com. The Nursing school and the psychology departments of the University of Auckland were creating her nurse knowledge base. Besides voice and face recognition and 8 available languages Romi Robot also talks with those patients who do not have any visitor to keep their company, tell them some jokes or just carry the conversation to make them happy.