People often joke that being around a baby is the best form of birth control, but folks in Japan are hoping for the opposite effect ... when the baby is a robot.
Enter Yotaro: A computerized baby who feels and acts like a real baby. From the cute -- giggling and cooing -- to the more challenging parts -- runny noses and crying -- Yotaro does it all ... including triggering human desire for a baby.
Hiroki Kunimura, project leader for the robot, who calls himself Yotaro's "daddy," believes his baby can help with Japan's low birth rate.
"I think it's true that young working couples have no chance to have personal contact with babies in their lives. The people who came to the robot exhibitions enjoyed touching Yotaro, like a real baby," Kunimura told CNN.
Personally, I find Yotaro a little scary looking, and I feel like people who fall in love with the idea of a baby based off of a robot baby are probably going to be in for a rude awakening when they find out just how unpredictable real babies can be.
Yotaro calms down when you touch his (warm) skin, and sure sometimes that works for a real baby. Other times, that same touch may send your baby into a three-hour fit of screams.
Yotaro, as far as I can tell, doesn't vomit or have explosive diapers or keep you up for weeks on end because he refuses to breastfeed but is famished.
So while I think it's great Japan is looking for ways to promote procreation, I worry that Yotaro is promising something a little too good to be true to Japanese couples who won't be able to just take out the real baby's batteries.
Of course, when it comes to parenting, none of us ever had any idea what we were really in for (good and challenging), did we?
How is having a baby different than you thought it would be?
Image via designboom