Seoul’s Museum of Natural History will be exhibiting Korea’s first professional guide robot in January 2010, built by technology company Corebell. The name was chosen because a docent is a well-informed person or guide (usually at museums) who gives information on various exhibits, though it has also been nicknamed Muki. The robot will move autonomously around parts of the dinosaur exhibit, stopping while speakers attached to the exhibits provide the details. Given that the robot is intended for children, it has obstacle detection and stands 120cm tall (to meet them eye to eye).
Development of the robot began last November with a budget of approximately 700,000,000 KRW ($600,000 USD). I know what you’re thinking: for that price, you could hire and train a team of human museum guides and keep them around for years! But you’re not thinking of the very long-term, which is when (one assumes) the robot will eventually pay for itself. Perhaps they ought to have looked into buying Hsiao Mei, the much cheaper but equally talented Taiwanese guide robot.
[source: Chosun (KR)]