Back in 2005 students at Keio University (Anzai, Imai Lab) and Muratec created a guide/receptionist robot called KEITA. Visitors to Keio University’s admission center could enjoy a small interactive tour by the robot from Tuesday through Friday, where it would introduce itself by saying,”Let’s talk about the school!” and answer questions (in Japanese only – though other languages were planned), show an informational video, etc., before autonomously returning to be recharged. The students’ previous work (Kentaro Ishii, Yasuhiko Hato, Thomas Kanold [Darmstadt U.], and Michita Imai) during RoboCup seasons was instrumental in creating the robot, which Muratec helped to build.
Dressed in the university’s official colors, including the eye-catching yellow insignia on its chest, KEITA stood 120cm (4′) tall and moved on wheels. It was equipped with an omnidirectional camera atop its head, a microphone (in its nose!), and ultrasonic sensors, and could understand approximately 2,500 words. Development on KEITA’s obstacle avoidance and people-passing capabilities led to the creation of the MKR-003, a cart-delivery robot built by Keio University and Muratec in 2008.
Although certainly simple in appearance, I think KEITA just goes to show that sometimes abstract features and rudimentary materials can still be cute.
Keio U. | Muratec