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Advancements in Personal Social Robots and AI

Personal Robots

Personal Social Robots and AI

It seems that year by year modern society is getting closer and closer to accepting personal social robots into our everyday lives.  Personal social robots are being designed to become our companions and personal assistants. One of the reasons this is becoming closer to reality is that we have already developed the ecosystem of technologies that a personal social robot could tap into to make our lives easier.  For example, home security and automation for the many devices that watch our homes, lock our doors, open the blinds, turn the lights on or off, control media and the indoor climate in our homes. Internet connectivity, social networks, video calling, health monitoring technology are a few more examples of existing technologies that a social robot companion can utilize to improve the quality of our lives.

There are different schools of thought on what personal robots should be with some developers focusing on making robots as human-like as possible. Some find this approach creepy or intimidating. Another school of thought focuses on making the devices friendly and unthreatening in appearance. The later is utilizing the technology eco-system that already exists to allow these devices to entertain, monitor our home and health, guard our homes and much more. 

We are going to take a closer look at four examples of Personal Social Robots and AI that I discovered in a YouTube video from Future HD.

Personal RobotsPersonal Robot from Autonomous

The first one is Personal Robot from Autonomous. It is pretty impressive.  It instantly connects to all your devices at home allowing it to take control of the lights, thermostat, switches, cameras and sensors throughout the home. There is built in sophisticated AI algorithms that will keep your home secure and the temperature comfortable. That’s just the beginning.  Personal Robot is your personal assistant. It will order your takeout, track your calorie intake, call you a cab as soon as you leave the office, take a picture when you pose, play your favorite song when you’re in the mood. She will stream live video of your home’s interior while you are away from home. She will read bedtime stories to the kids. It recognizes faces and constantly learns, getting smarter every day. 

She sees the world in much the same way we do and is equipped with facial recognition, object recognition, emotion recognition, 3D depth camera, deep learning algorithms. Control all your connected devices with the sound of your voice. Ask her about the weather, news, information, sports scores, and more. Tell her to play music, schedule meetings, set alarms, get recipes, and more. Far-field voice recognition that hears you from across the room. Noise canceling microphone array technology. Proprietary natural language understanding algorithms. Personal Robot from Autonomous is a very smart complete package with personality. 

Personal RobotsJibo

Next is JIBO.  Jibo is billed as the world’s first social robot.  It comes with a toolkit so you can customize it.  As a platform, Jibo also offers an SDK for developers to take it even further.  Jibo is an attentive companion for seniors, keeping them connect to loved ones and caregivers.  It will manage your life, and coordinate with your family. 

Jibo is stationary but moves on multiple axis and he is a responsive playmate and storyteller for the kids.  He can even help them learn. Jibo is also a camera man so instead of you shooting photos or videos, Jibo will handle the task for you so you can get in on the action. You can converse with Jibo and he will keep you updated and alert you of upcoming events.  You can see what Jibo sees from your handheld device and have him look at whoever and whatever you want.  He can connect to your home’s smart devices.  He delivers voice messages and can order take out.

There is currently a waitlist for Jibo.  Dr. Cynthia Breazeal of Jibo Inc. is the developer of Jibo.  She is a pioneer of social robotics and an MIT Professor.

Personal RobotsKeeker

Next up is Keeker.  Currently a Kickstarter project, Keeker is reminiscent of R2D2.  This guy is not only a smart bot but is also a moving projector that can project content on a wall at 1080p, 40-inch screen from 2 feet away.  He is equipped with surround sound and six 25W speakers. You can send him anywhere in the house and enjoy wireless entertainment.  He is also equipped with sensors for ultrasound, infrared, light, air quality, temperature, and humidity. He also has a mic and camera so he can serve as a security bot. You can take control of Keeker with your smart device and send him anywhere in the house to check up on things.  He also includes 1 terabyte of storage for media.

Personal RobotsCubic

Last on the list is Cubic. Cubic is less a Robot since he is stationary, but he is your personal AI and is connected to your world. Intended to go further than Siri or Google. He can control all of your devices and apps and you can even make him your personal DJ. Cubic comes with a small portable device (Power Badge) so he is with you everywhere you go. He is smart and connected to everything you are. Cubic gets to know you and helps you get through your day. Cubic is developer friendly with an open API for future development.

Conclusion

The only shortcoming I see to Personal Robot and Keeker is that they would only be effective in a single story home. They are mobile and creates a map of the home so they can navigate but I see no way for them to deal with steps as in a two story or tri-level home.  However, the other two options in this article are stationary and would need to be moved from room to room.

Whether you find social robotics and AI creepy or a must have, one thing that can’t be denied is that these devices are very smart and entertaining.  They will enhance and enrich any home. Check out this video from Future HD and see for yourself why the future really is now.

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Carmine Delligatti-Drummer, former Support Manager for Deneba Software, ACD Systems, Mareware, Inc. and Swiss Made Marketing. Avid technology blogger and Managing Editor of Cupertinotimes.com.