From a recent edition of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Bulletin comes news of a project at UCSD. Their researchers are writing new prototype software and integrating their system into a Sony ERS 210 Aibo robotic dog (just like June’s Maxwell). The goal is to program AIBO to recognise individual people and respond to their emotions. For example, says a spokesperson, “AIBO might comfort you if you are upset or play with you if you are restless.” “The eventual product could be more than just a high-tech toy”, say the researchers. “With recent research showing health benefits from interacting with pets, an empathic AIBO might be good medicine for people”.