Dr. Munsang Kim (Director at CIR), holding Kibo
Kibo is an entertainment robot developed back in 2005 by KIST’s Center for Intelligent Robotics (CIR) in South Korea. Unlike many small bipedal robots, Kibo has an expressive face with moving eyebrows, eyelids, eyes, and lips, which are ideal for non-verbal communication. This is because CIR’s research is focused on developing friendly robots to aid the elderly (referred to as the “silver generation”). Gesture recognition software allows it to recognize and mimic the posture of those who interact with it, such as raising a hand in greeting. It was primarily developed because a smaller robot like this is more portable and less costly than a full-sized humanoid.
It stands 56cm (22″) tall, weighs 7kg (15 lbs), and has a total of 24 DOFs (although it appears to have hands, they aren’t actually articulated). It would be upgraded over the course of the following years with the taller and more feminine Kibo ver.1.2. CIR’s approach to expressive faces can be seen in their most recent robots, the educational Sil-Bot and FR-i.
A few more photos and a video of a pair of Kibos dancing (in traditional clothing normally worn on a child’s first birthday) follow after the break.