Home Tech This Furry Robotic Puppet Comforts Your Crying Baby While Driving

This Furry Robotic Puppet Comforts Your Crying Baby While Driving

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I left the baby in the car seat looking at a furry toy. Good. Father driving in front.

about two years I was recently in a car with my best friend and her young son. She was driving and I was sitting in the back next to her 10-month-old baby, who was swaddled in her car seat. For a while, the ride was peaceful, but then the baby burst into tears. We tried all the common tricks to comfort him. I twisted my face into the silliest pose, my friend burst into a catchy song, but our efforts were met with louder moans until finally, thankfully!, we reached my friend’s driveway and she was able to lift her son up. arms. .

This situation, without the useless friend in the back, is probably familiar to many parents who drive alone with their young children. And it’s why Japanese automaker Nissan is developing a peculiar puppet to alleviate tantrums in the back seats. It’s called Iruyo, which translates to “I’m here” in Japanese.

The furry babysitter, who gives off major Elmo vibes, is indeed two puppets: “Iruyo grande”, which is tied to the back of the back seat, facing the baby; and the “little Iruyo”, which is located in the driver’s cup holder. Big Iruyo does most of the work. When prompted by specific voice commands spoken by parents, big Iruyo can wave his hands, cover his eyes to play hide-and-seek, or clap his hands while parents sing.

Photography: Nissan

A robot for children

Rear-facing child seats are significantly safer than their forward-facing counterparts, but they have one inevitable flaw: you can’t see your child’s face while driving. That’s why Big Iruyo also comes with a built-in camera to monitor his son’s face. When your baby’s eyes are closed for more than three seconds, the big Iruyo will assume that he is asleep and relay the message to the little Iruyo, who in turn will close his eyes to mirror his little one. When your baby opens his eyes again, little Iruyo will do the same, like in a high-tech game of “monkey see, monkey do.”

Iruyo was designed by Tokyo advertising agency TBWAHakuhodo, in collaboration with Nissan and one of Japan’s largest retail chains specializing in baby products, Akachan Honpo. The project began as a marketing campaign for Nissan’s sensing technology used in its driver assistance system. For example, some car models such as the Nissan Aria use a combination of Radar sensors and front cameras. to continually assess your surroundings and automate part of your driving, so you can take your hands off the wheel and your feet off the pedals on a highway.

Iruyo uses similar camera technology to assess your baby’s face and help you care for him. TBWA assures me that the robot’s camera only detects eye movement, which the company says should mitigate any privacy concerns associated with capturing full facial expressions.

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