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Robotic helper to care for the elderly

A ROBOT standing 1.6 meters tall with twinkling eyes may soon become a best friend for lone elderly people, said a senior researcher on the Chinese project, yesterday.

"We are testing its precision functions and working on ways to reduce its cost," said Li Ruifeng, a member of the project with the Harbin Institute of Technology in Heilongjiang Province.

"We think we'll launch the robot in two to three years."

Li said the team hoped to price the robot at 30,000 yuan to 50,000 yuan (US$4,400-US$7,300), making it affordable for most of China's middle-class families.

The robot will fetch food and medicine, sound alarms in case of water or gas leaks and send texts or images wirelessly.


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