KIST’s Center for Intelligent Robotics is developing a new robotic head, as seen in the following video. This is the same lab that recently unveiled Kibo ver.2.0 at Robot World 2011. The robot is called MERO and is not new version of the FR-i, a robotic head that is teaching English lessons to elementary students as part of the South Korean government’s R-Learning initiative. Instead, it’s designed to perform songs to entertain the elderly.
It’s important to note that the video is only a preliminary test of the robot’s lip movements, but I think it’s safe to say I’m not particularly fond of the design. What happened to the cute robot seen in this promotional video from the same lab? And another thing: why is it that so many of these face robots only play back canned expressions and movements instead of truly communicating, like those developed at MIT’s Personal Robotics Group or Waseda University’s Kobayashi Lab? While many have copied and improved upon the basic mechanical structure, they haven’t paid enough attention to Kismet’s social interactivity.
[source: CGKim @ YouTube]