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Feeling Well with Companion Robots:

Technologies of Care in the Age of Emotional AI

(Tokyo, Japan)

Including "Touch & Try" experience with Groove X robot LOVOT


Feeling Well with Companion Robots: Technologies of Care in the Age of Emotional AI

— Organized in conjunction with Professor Yu Niiya, Faculty of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies, Hosei University —

While the healthcare sector in Japan has long invested in robotic technologies supporting care for aging citizens, recent trends indicate a surging interest in providing care via robots to everyday consumers through the mass market. Inspired by the rise of entertainment robotics and combined with advancements in artificial intelligence, companies such as Sony (with their robot dog Aibo) and Softbank (with Pepper, the “first robot that can read emotions”) have developed robot companions that leverage emotion modeling software and affective engineering design (kansei kōgaku) to generate pleasure and comfort through the simulation of life-like artificial companions. Most notable among these companies is Groove X, a startup that in 2018 announced LOVOT, a furry robot on wheels that the company describes as “powered by love,” created “to be loved by you,” and is “the one and only robot in this universe that heals your heart” ( What personal or social needs are companies like Groove X responding to? What kinds of emotional responses do their products elicit? And most importantly, are the kinds of intimacy they cultivate in the broadest psychological terms good for us? This workshop aims to bring together social scientists to discuss these questions and to imagine the future of intimacy in Japan in relation to advancing technologies of companion robots equipped with emotional AI.


In addition to a collection of speakers, the workshop will also feature a "Touch and Try" experience, hosted by Groove X's Business Development Group Representative Ryutaro Murayama. Participants will be able to meet and interact with Groove X's robot LOVOT and gain first-hand experience with the latest "family-style" robot from a new and innovative startup. 



Diana Khor, Hosei University (sociology), Opening Remarks

Daniel White, Freie Universität Berlin (cultural anthropology)

Ryutaro Murayama, Groove X (business development)

Yu Niiya, Hosei University (social psychology)

Mayumi Karasawa, Tokyo Woman's Christian University (cultural psychology)

Yayoi Watanabe, Hosei University (developmental psychology)


July 26, 2019,  17:00 - 19:30



Boissonade Tower, 26th Floor, Room A, Hosei University

Ichigaya Campus, Fujimi 2-17-1, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo


Open to all members of GIS and Hosei University. 

Additional interested participants are welcome to attend upon RSVP with name

and affiliation to Professor Yu Niiya at

*For more information on the Faculty of Global and Interdisciplinary Studies at Hosei University

visit the Department's home page.


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