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Qoboo - the therapeutic robotic cushion

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by Startacus Admin


The lowdown on the Japanese robotics startup that has created Qoboo, a therapeutic robot in the form of a cushion with a tail

whats_bg_sp.Qoobo is a cushion. A furry cushion. Qoobo is a furry cushion that...wags its tail. Well, thanks for stopping by for another article-- Oh, you want to know more? About the furry cushion that wags its tail like a cat that’s had a terrible accident.

Qoobo is the product of Japanese robotics startup Yukai Engineering, and it is literally a furry cushion that wags its tail, as we may have mentioned. 

It reacts - by wagging its tail - to being stroked like a cat and to sounds, and will occasionally wag its tail just to remind you that it exists. That it has no mouth and it must scream. After an extended period of being given attention, it will go to sleep and can be charged by simply plugging it in. When squeezed, or when a head is laid on it, Qoobo emits a peaceful heartbeat to calm, comfort, and relax. There is a large Qoobo, which we’ve decided to call the Bagpuss, and a smaller one that we’ll call...the small one.

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The purpose of Qoobo is based on historical therapy robotics, itself based on the precedent of using animal therapy for hospital patients and nursing home residents, providing comfort and stress relief, as well as simulating - in the case of robots - company when there may not be any real company to be had. 

Animal therapy comes with its own challenges, such as time limitations and the need for the animal’s owner to be there; Qoobo has no needs.

When Qoobo was tested in intensive care elderly homes and elderly welfare facilities, it was found to not only stir the people to interact with the Qoobo, but also sparked more interaction between the users themselves. Across 3 weeks, they found no decrease in this interaction and any sign of boredom with the device. Likewise, a small test of 38 people of varying ages resulted in reduced stress levels and positive mood changes in the participants.

Not everyone can have a pet, particularly in places like nursing homes or hospitals, so perhaps something that requires no more maintenance than being plugged in now and then and can provide some comfort de-stressing is a good thing in these uncomfortable and stressful times.


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Published on: 19th January 2021

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