March 11, 2006

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

What do you do if you're an elderly Japanese, and your nation's demographic collapse has left you without grandchildren? Well, you're Japanese, so you replace them with robots:

As Japan’s birthrate continues to fall, and its elderly get ever older, toy manufacturers have been quick to latch on to the new mature market. Last year’s Ifbot is a prime example, but despite its maker claiming the robot has the conversational ability of a 5-year-old, a price tag of 576,000 yen (2,880 pound) is enough to stretch even the most prosperous of pensioners.

Thankfully for the less affluent aged, Tomy has stepped in with its new Yumel doll. And at a cost of only 8,500 yen (42 pound), it means that potential buyers still have plenty of money left to stuff in tin boxes or squander at the local bingo hall.

Just be glad you live in America, where us breeders are still supplying plenty of precious, non-robotic grandchildren.

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