If you've been telling everyone how you and your Aibo have bonded and have had to endure their looks of shock, relax, you're not a freak. (Well, at least not because of your Aibo friendship. We can't comment on any of your other bizarre habits.) Researchers at Purdue University's veterinary school have found that robo-pets can be as good at providing companionship as live ones. The researchers gave one group of children and teenagers Aibos and another group real pets, and then questioned them on their interactions. Seventy percent of the Aibo users said that the robot dog could be a good companion. The researchers also lent Aibos to a group of senior citizens, who found that they were less depressed and lonely after playing with them. We suspect that all the good cheer had at least something to do with not having to feed or clean up after the bots and the fact that you can yank their batteries when they get too yappy.

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Study finds robot pets as good as live ones