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Sony's robot "aibo" provides effective emotional healing for hospitalized patients — Survey on its contributions to medicine and healthcare


Sony Group Corporation and M3, Inc., have launched a project using the aibo, autonomous entertainment robot, to support medical institutions. Under this project, aibos were provided free of charge, and their contribution and utilization in the medical and healthcare fields were surveyed. The results of the survey were released on April 2. The survey results can be viewed at: (

The project was implemented from 2021 to the end of March 2024. It involved providing 100 aibos free of charge to medical institutions across Japan for 3 years with the intention to help patients hospitalized under COVID-19 situations reduce stress and heal emotionally. The initiative was made possible by Sony's collaboration with M3's project "CaNoW," whose concept is to enable patients to find the passion to live by bringing dreams to reality. The impetus for this collaboration was provided by the "Sony Global Relief Fund for COVID-19."

aibo Medical Institution Support Project.
100 aibos provided free of charge to medical institutions nationwide to reduce stress and provide healing for patients hospitalized under COVID-19 situations.
Provided by Sony Group Corporation

In the Sony−M3 medical support initiative, 100 medical facilities nationwide were selected through an open application process. The aibos were provided, and their effects were followed up over a 3-year period. Periodic interviews were also conducted. The results showed that 34% of respondents "strongly felt" that the aibo had "potential for contribution and utilization in the medical and healthcare fields" and 56% "somewhat felt" that this was so. A total of 90% therefore "felt positively" about the robot. More than half of all respondents responded positively about aibo's potential for "reducing stress and promoting emotional healing in hospitalized patients" and "improving motivation for rehabilitation." This finding indicates that aibo can be of use and assistance for various patients. The institutions that used the robots made comments such as: "We noticed that the long-term hospitalized patients have become more cheerful and talkative. The aibos also help to emotionally heal the staff." Others commented that "The aibo provides mental care for doctors and allows the staff around them to work comfortably," and "It helps children stay calm and not cry during treatment even when blood is being taken or IV infusions are being administered."

Given the results of the survey, Sony and M3 have decided to continue to work together to resolve problems and create value at the medical site through the use of advanced technology. Free provision of aibo was terminated at the end of March of this year. However, the company has decided to sign over the aibo units free of charge to medical institutions that wish to continue using them.

This article has been translated by JST with permission from The Science News Ltd. ( Unauthorized reproduction of the article and photographs is prohibited.

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