The pandemic took its toll on people’s mental health when restrictions against socialization were imposed. Thankfully, medical breakthroughs made immunization possible which eventually ended lockdowns. Nonetheless, there are still individuals who find it difficult to make meaningful connections with others. Hence, two designers came up with Mori — a companion robot programmed to help those who experience social anxiety disorder.

Unfortunately, not everyone can easily motivate themselves to overcome their fears. As with any form of treatment, it’s a gradual process that does not guarantee success. However, given how our devices and the internet allow us to communicate more freely, a robot with advanced AI capabilities might be the ideal platform to promote positive behaviors.

The Mori is unlike what we typically imagine a companion robot would look like. Instead of a humanoid appearance, it is engineered to resemble a high-tech interactive gadget. Hopefully, this would make it more appealing to users. In its default configuration, we have something that resembles a halo-shaped smart speaker with an orb mounted in the middle. 

Taewan Kim and YeEun Kim managed to pull off a cool design. Anyone unaware of what it brings to the table will just see a fancy audio device. However, the artificial intelligence at its core provides support via meaningful conversations. Furthermore, it generates simple tasks curated to encourage trips outside their homes. The spherical accessory can split in half and function as TWS over-ear headphones. 

This concept packs technology that is currently in the early stages of development. Given how quickly artificial intelligence improves as it processes more data, it is possible to eventually integrate emotion recognition software in the future. The Mori may not be an actual product yet, but it is a hint of what might be possible later on.

Images courtesy of Taewan Kim/YeEun Kim/Behance