Nodding Kabochan: Cognitive Skill Aid Robot
By: Youjin Kang, Intern, AARP International
Publish Date: October
Product name: Unazuki Kabochan (Nodding Kabochan)
Use: Cognitive Skill Aid Robot
Company: Pip Co. ltd and Wiz Corporation
Country/ Region: Japan
Availability: On the Market
PIP Co. ltd , also known as “The Wellness Company”, and Wiz Corporation jointly developed a communication robot with audio, light and motion sensor called “Unazuki Kabochan” (Nodding Kabochan). This product is originally created to provide relaxation to seniors through communication. It is capable of talking, singing, and slightly moving as a response to its owner’s touch and spoken words. According to the research of Osaka City University, Kabochan can improve the cognitive skills and promote positive mental and physical health of the older population. Kabochan has been tested in a number of assisted living facilities and proved its effectiveness in endorsing cognitive and emotional health of residents.
Nodding Kabochan, a 28 centimeters tall pumpkin suited robot, affectionately interacts with the seniors with its five sensors that are installed in its mouth, head, hands, feet, and main body. These sensors allow Kabochan to verbally respond to any sounds and movements. Kabochan is pre-programmed to address its owner in eight different ways, including “Grandma” and “Grandpa”, and it has 400 conversational phrases that promote healthy communication.
Moreover, Kabochan contains several exercise modes, which includes pose game, raising the flag game, and singing exercise. These simple exercises are built in to relieve stress, fatigue, and wandering symptoms of dementia patients. Thus, it prevents dementia by improving seniors’ cognitive functions such as memory and judgment, according to Yasuyoshi Watanabe, a professor of brain science at Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine. Kabochan also strengthens quality of sleep and positive emotional health for older people living in remote areas.