Qbo, TheCorpora’s open source personal robot, is being manufactured in Taiwan. In May the company received its first batch of parts from the manufacturer. There are over 40 plastic components that had to be tested and improved. Recently, they decided to film a test run of the robot interacting with its development team. According to the official blog, Qbo displayed some quirks they didn’t expect, such as getting closer to taller people than shorter people. This is because the robot determines how closely it follows people based on how far away their face is to its cameras. Additionally, the robot would sometimes lose track of people due to changing lighting conditions, which is a well known issue for computer vision.
They’re still working on hammering out the robot’s basic capabilities, but it seems like TheCorpora is well on its way to having Qbo ready in the near future. Considering they don’t have much (if any) external financial support this is quite impressive. The Qbo platform could be very useful for universities and colleges with social robotics programs. It is ideal for studying human-robot interaction, and can be used to explore computer vision, speech recognition, SLAM, and other programming tasks.