RayTron is a Japanese company that is developing a household robot called Chapit, which was designed to be as cute as possible. Chapit has voice-recognition technology allowing it to respond to spoken phrases and commands, allowing it to serve as a voice-activated universal remote in your living room.
Chapit’s name derives from three words: chat, pico (small), and robot, or Chappi for short, and was conceived around three principle ideals: friendliness, simplicity, and convenience. The microphones in its large ears pick up voice commands (around 1000 words) and its embedded speaker and speech synthesis function allow it to respond using a database of associated words and phrases.
It also communicates using simple gestures and facial expressions. Its head can nod and tilt and its feet can move independantly from the body, which can swivel in place. The eyes and mouth shapes are built up of several LEDs that can display a small selection of states, like opening and closing. The only problem is Chapit is almost too cute – you’d feel bad for neglecting him/her/it!
Besides controlling home appliances, Chapit can update its data through mobile phones with infrared capability, or through wireless internet connection. An optional feature currently under development is a camera which can send images to the user’s cellphone, pda, or laptop. Chapit is not yet on sale, but has appeared in various events (as recently the Ministry of Finance Summit in Japan [June 13-14th 2008]) and is being used to further evolve speech recognition and synthesis functions at various university labs.
Chapit’s design looks so familiar… do you think it could have any relation to Data the Save Monkey from Capcom’s Mega Man Legends (PS1, N64) or perhaps Wiki from Capcom’s Zack & Wiki (Wii)? Hmm…
- Raytron (official site JP)
- Raytron’s Chapit page (official site JP)
- Chapit @ Impress Robot Watch (JP)
Impress Robot Watch