If you've been watching Master Of None online, you may have heard about PARO. And if you haven't, don't worry - this still applies to you
If you’ve made it to episode eight of Aziz Ansari’s new Netflix show, Master of None, then you’ll already know all about PARO the healing seal. We assume that you spent the majority of the episode making one long, guttural ‘aww’ sound, from the pit of your stomach. And when the episode came to an end, you probably sat back on your legs, clapped your hands with glee, and balanced the nearest inflatable beach ball on the end of your nose.
That, or just googled ‘Where Do I Buy PARO?’
But if you didn’t do that, then you should have done. Because PARO the healing seal isn’t a product of Aziz’s childlike imagination.
PARO is real.
In fact, PARO might just be the greatest invention known to humankind.
And we really, really, really want one.
Yep, created in Japan to help elderly patients suffering from dementia, PARO isn’t just any old seal. It’s a £5000 robot designed to comfort and soothe by blinking, hugging and looking unbearably cute.
According to one PARO retailer, Parobots, ‘PARO is modeled after a baby harp seal… A baby harp seal spends most of the day sleeping. However, PARO has a diurnal rhythm of morning, daytime, and night.’
‘For example, PARO is active during the daytime, but gets sleepy at night.’
Of course, for £5000, PARO comes with a few figurative bells and whistles. Namely five slightly-futuristic-sounding sensors – analysing touch, light, sound, temperature, and posture – which it uses to assess its environment. It can identify light and dark, it can tell when it’s being stroked (or beaten, according to the website. Which is such a horrifying prospect, our eyes well up just thinking about it). And it can even tell who is speaking and where they are in the room.
Which suggests our 15 year old Furby has finally got itself some competition.