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Vstone’s Latest Pint-Sized Research Platform

In early 2010 the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute (ATR) unveiled the M3-synchy, which was built with the robotics company Vstone.  It was designed to be small and portable, while still providing image and voice recognition functionality.  Vstone is still selling the M3-synchy, but they’re now taking orders on a similar product called the RPC-S1.

Its specifications are nearly identical: it’s approximately 30cm (12″) tall, has 17 degrees of freedom, and comes equipped with an embedded PICO 820 computer, a single 1.3 mega pixel camera, two microphones, and a speaker.  The main difference between the two robots can be seen in the RPC-S1′s smaller and less detailed head, and the arms, which are covered with the same foam rubber as its body.

While popular research platforms such as Aldebaran Robotics’ NAO are capable of image and speech recognition, they lack sophisticated eyes.  The RPC-S1′s eyes can move independently from the head, so they can be used to study gaze direction during interaction.  This sets it apart from just about every other small and inexpensive platform except for the Hanson Robokind, which has an even more expressive head.

[source: Vstone (JP)]