Scientists in Japan have come up with a robot resembling a huge, happy teddy bear to help look after hospital patients.
RIBA, Robot for Interactive Body Assistance, which can lift a weight of 61 kg on its foam padded arms, is the work of the government-run Riken research institute.
Dr. Toshiharu Mukai, the lead researcher, said the device was developed to lift hospital patients in and out of their wheelchairs and beds.
The robot, that can also recognize faces and voices and respond to up to 30 spoken commands, may be seen in hospitals and retirement homes within three years.
Mukai said battery-powered RIBA was based on a teddy bear because humanoid versions could leave people uncomfortable.