Bill Gates is known as a lot of things; programmer, philanthropist, visionary... super-nerd. One thing Bill isn't known for is his ability to hug or be hugged, but that could all change with his latest investment in a foundation called Anty. The Belgium-based robotics team are hard at work on a small, badly named robot called Probo; a green, "huggable," ALF-like creature that will be used to interact with kids during medical treatment and hospital stays, where it's hoped the robot will aid in easing children's sometimes-traumatic experiences. The project is being carried out by two teams at the University of Brussels, in conjunction with the Anty group, with the focus on creating a "social robot" emphasizing vision, speech, AI, and intrinsic safety. In a quote attributed to Gates -- who has aggressively invested in children's projects in the past -- the Microsoft founder says "Alongside the technical research possibilities, the prototype will be used to examine the opportunities for using Anty in medical, social and psychological research." When reached for further comment, Gates was said to be "unavailable" due to rampant testing of Probo's "hugging" feature.

[Via The Raw Feed]

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Bill Gates backs Probo, the huggable children's robot