Taiwan’s Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has developed a service robot named Roppie, which appeared at TIROS (though information about the robot was scarce at that time) and more recently the 2009 Taiwan International Invention Show & Technomart at the Taipei World Trade Center. The robot has an LCD screen for a face with animated eyes, 20 actuators, and moves on wheels, allowing it to fetch the morning newspaper, pour a glass of water, and carry various items.
Each of Roppie’s arms weigh only 3.5kg (about that of the average human arm) and have a higher strength to weight ratio than industrial robot arms. The robot is also programmed to dance to music by waving its arms in sync with the beat (see videos after the break). For now, Roppie remains a tantalizing suggestion of what life may be like in the year 2020 – so it won’t be ready to do your household chores any time soon. In the meantime ITRI is busy working on more serious projects like their paper-thin speakers (which just won a Wall Street Journal Technology Innovation Award), Eye-to-Motion visual servo technology and their assembly robot arms.