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This Little Robot Is Supposed To Help Young People Feel Less Lonely

Loneliness can take a toll on you, especially if you live alone. As more and more young people opt out of seeking roommates as they enter the real world, researchers around the world are wondering: How do we bring people together? That’s where Fribo comes in.


Fribo. It’s a little robot prototype which was created by Korean researchers to encourage young people to text and call one another.

Fribo isn’t intended to be social itself. Ideally, Fribos would be distributed in the houses of a group of friends and connect those who are feeling isolated.

Virtual Living Space

Fribo has tiny microphones and sensors which pick up activities like when someone comes home, turns on a light, puts laundry in the wash (you get the gist). By listening to what friends are doing, Fribo encourages users to talk through chat applications. This creates what’s called a “virtual living space.”

When Fribo picks up on an activity, a message like this will come through its speakers: “Oho! Your Friend opened the front door. Did someone just come home?” Then, the friends who receive the message can respond by texting the group chat or sending a message through Fribo itself. Knocking twice near Fribo will send a direct message like “What are you doing? Kawngmin is curious!” and clapping three times will prompt Fribo to send an approval message like “Welcome back!”

Bringing People Together

Fribo provides an interesting concept for those smaller, tight-knit circles of friends who need a little bit of a push in initiating contact. Friends who work from home or live far away from each other can also benefit from this little robot. “I can imagine what my friend is doing and I feel like we live in the same house, but in another room. It’s like sharing daily life activities with friends,” shared one person who tested Fribo for about a month.

Check out the video below to see just how Fribo works its magic.

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