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• Beauty & Butler Robots

The Butler Robot handed out beverages

Besides the assistive-living robot HuiHui which we covered earlier, the aptly-named Butler Robot made an appearance at the 12th China Hi-Tech Fair in November 2010.  The Butler Robot is just one of the 20 prototypes developed by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology over the past four years.  They’re working on household service, cleaning, and pet robots, intelligent emergency response systems, and medical and rehabilitation robots.

The Butler Robot is 120cm (4′) tall and is capable of autonomous navigation, path-planning, and object recognition.  Its wide visor appears to contain three separate cameras.  It can map the household and remember the locations of the fridge and microwave, and can carry a canned drink or serving tray in its claw-like hands.  Granted, the Butler Robot isn’t outperforming its contemporaries, but it serves as an example of China’s ongoing efforts to match robots from South Korea and Japan.

The curvaceous “Beauty” robot (right) comes in three types, ranging from robotic (looking like EMIEW-2‘s mother) to a more realistic model.  It was designed to welcome customers and chat with them.

Unlike other robots that rely on scripted dialog, the Beauty robot responds by searching for the context of your spoken words.  If the robot is unable to determine a response, it will say something like, “I’m not sure about that, let’s talk about something else!”  For example, when a reporter complimented her on her good looks, she replied, “Of course, I was made this way.”  And when asked if it was male or female it said, “I’ve struggled with that for awhile now.”

Other examples included a spherical home surveillance robot, and a robotic walker that can double as a cart (which follows you using ultrasonic range finders).

[source: China Hi-Tech Fair 2010 (CN)] & [Xinhua (CN)]

Video (Butler Robot):

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Image credit:
GZDaily | China Daily

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