Robot therapy pets get a starring role in Lightyear and in real Life

Roboticists are working on real-world versions of Sox, a robot companion in Lightyear, to play therapeutic roles.

Check out how Sox compares to real world robot cats (and other pet companions) in my Science Robotics article. Sox actually checks off four of the requirements for a suitable therapy companion robot given in a 2021 paper by Koh, Ang, and Casey. The first robot cat NeCoRo has been unflatteringly described as “It's like your deceased pet, that you had stuffed at a discount taxidermist, came back to life because you read a passage from that dusty old book you found in the attic.” You can see just how creepy it moves and acts here.

Sox is a great starting point to learn more about robot design, see the topics page on Robot Design for more scifi and of course my books to learn more.