Brown and Hasbro aim to make Hasbro’s animatronic animals smart enough to remind senior citizens to take their medicine. A $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation will fund a three-year partnership that seeks to morph the toys into smart robots. The project is led by Brown’s Humanity-Centered Robotics Initiative, codirected by professor Bertram Malle, who hopes to “add intelligence” to the purrs, barks, and movements, to “help guide users toward misplaced objects or let them know that it’s time to do something.”

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Illustration by Klaas Verplancke