Toy maker Hasbro unveils robotic cat for elderly

Hasbro is hoping to break into a new market this season: seniors.

Hasbro, manufacturer of the Cabbage Patch Kids, Easy-Bake Oven, Transformers action figures, Mr. Potato Head and Monopoly,  unveiled its first product designed specifically for elder care. Its JOY FOR ALL brand launched a robotic companion pet cat is programmed to nuzzle, purr and roll over when it’s petted.

“Our experience was that it brought a lot of joy to the folks that had them,” says Ted Fischer, Hasbro’s vice president of business development, describing what the company calls its VibraPurr technology to the Boston Globe. “It’s a very calming kind of feeling as it’s sitting on your lap.”

The battery-operated cat retails for $99.99 and is available with orange tabby, silver and creamy white fur.

Hasbro developed the line after market research found many parents were gifting stuffed animals to an aging relative who lived alone or couldn’t own a pet. The company already has FurReal Friends, a line of robotic animals designed for children.

Hasbro isn’t the only manufacturer of robotic animals. AIST makes PARO, a therapeutic baby harp seal robot, and from 1999 to 2005 Sony made AIBO, a robotic dog.

Related: Robotic pets are beneficial to people with dementia

Topics: Technology & IT