Researchers at TheCorpora have endowed Qbo with the ability to recognize some set hand signals with its stereoscopic cameras. They’ve implemented it in a music player function, which turns the little robot into a mobile stereo system.
You make a fist to begin playing a song, which can also pause playback if a song is in play. Holding out your hand in a natural “stop” motion stops playback. You can scroll through your playlist by pointing left with your index finger to go back, or forward by sticking out your thumb to the right, with Qbo dutifully announcing the title and artist of each track. If you make a “V” symbol with your fingers (like the “peace” sign), the robot will increase its volume. If you make the same symbol, but with your fingers pointed down, it lowers the volume. As a nice touch, Qbo’s LED array “mouth” lights up as a sort of equalizer during playback.
Voice commands would be more natural, but it’s possible the robot may have difficulty distinguishing your voice from loud music, especially when being played next to its microphones. We’ve covered some music playing robots before (see Rolly, Miuro, and AMP), but those robots were designed only as music players – they couldn’t do anything else.