5 Robots That Are Programmed to Do Good

These amazing bots are making a positive impact on people and the planet.

Mar 11, 2015

The Dustbot is cleaning up Europe's streets. [Screenshot]

The fascination with robots is widespread as the futuristic piece of technology has the great potential to improve the lives of humans. As technology is becoming more sophisticated, so are the types of robots being dreamed up and produced. With a focus on positive impact, these five robots are programmed to do good for people and the planet. 

1. THE ROBOT THAT HEALS

WHAT: Paro
HOW: This friendly robot comes in the form of an adorable seal, equipped with five different sensors that enhance its ability to connect with and heal people. The cute, fuzzy machine functions as a robotic animal therapist, designed to have a calming effect on patients' emotions. Created by the Japanese company AIST, Paro is becoming a friendly fixture at senior citizens homes throughout the United States and Europe.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Quite lifelike, the fluffy robot has a moveable body, makes cute seal sounds and responds to the touch and voice of individuals, adapting its behavior to suit the user. 

Paro is a cute healer, helping kids and seniors. [Screenshot]

2. THE ROBOT THAT HELPS PEOPLE WALK

WHAT: Ekso Bionics
HOW: The robotic exoskeleton is a wearable machine that helps survivors of stroke, spinal cord injury and other forms of lower extremity weakness to walk again. The bionic suit is battery-powered and provides a means for people with as much as complete paralysis, and minimal forearm strength, to stand and walk again. 
SPECIAL FEATURE: The Ekso suit gives audio cues to the wearer when their sideways and forward targets are achieved, so that they can initiate a step. The Ekso Pulse automatically gathers and transmits statistics during the walking sessions in order to track and record progress. 

Ekso Bionics makes it possible for paralyzed people to walk again. [Facebook]

3. THE ROBOT THAT TAKES OUT THE TRASH

WHAT: Dustbot
HOW: A true-blue cleaning machine, the European robot collects garbage from people’s homes. The Dustbot can be summoned by phone call or text message, and uses a GPS to automatically make its way to the customer, collecting the rubbish, and properly disposing of it.
SPECIAL FEATURE: Along with the capacity to hold 40 kg (88 lbs) of garbage, Dustbots carry environmental sensors to monitor the pollution levels.

The Dustbot is a thrifty recycler. [Screenshot]

4. THE ROBOT IN SPACE

WHAT: Robonaut 2
HOW: Developed by the brains at NASA, Robonaut 2 (R2) is built to look humanlike, and was designed to complete tasks that are either simple or repetitive, or pose dangers to humans at the International Space Station. 
SPECIAL FEATURE: Last year, R2 got a body upgrade - legs that span 9 feet, giving it greater flexibility and mobility around the space station. 

Robonaut 2 is helping with space exploration. [Screenshot]

5. THE ROBOT THAT CLEANS UP OIL SPILLS

WHAT: Seaswarm
HOW: Still in prototype form, this robot has patented nanomaterial that can absorb up to 20 times its weight in oil. The flexible conveyor belt softly rolls over the ocean’s surface, absorbing oil and deflecting water. The robot works by detecting the edge of a spill and moving inward until it has removed the oil from a single site. 
SPECIAL FEATURE: The Seaswarm is designed to function as a fleet, which will communicate their location via GPS and WiFi to facilitate an organized system of oil collection, without human support.

Seaswarm is a project by MIT. [Screenshot]