stupidfoo writes "AFP is reporting that, starting today, "Japan's growing elderly population will be able to buy companionship in the form of a 45-centimeter (18-inch) robot" designed to help them avoid senility. The robot, named Snuggling Ifbot and developed by Dream Supply, will be able to respond to verbal commands. "If a person tells Snuggling Ifbot, "I'm bored today," the robot might respond, "Are you bored? What do you want to do?"". It retails for 576,000 yen (5,600 dollars) and there is no English version currently available but "its makers plan to program the robot in English -- not for export, but to teach the language to Japanese children.""