The Shandong University of Science and Technology (SDUST) celebrated its 60th anniversary in late 2011 with the birth of the SDUST Baby. The robot, which stands roughly 170 cm (5’7″) tall, was developed in less than a year by four professors and eight students specifically for the anniversary. It uses an LCD screen to display a variety of facial expressions such as laughing, crying, and so on. It has 1 degree of freedom in its neck, 1 in its waist, and 4 per arm (shoulder x2, elbow x1, wrist x1).
Its head-mounted camera is used for face recognition, and it features some degree of speech recognition and synthesis. For example, the researchers entered the photos and names of prominent alumni who would attend the anniversary event, allowing the SDUST Baby to name them on sight. In another demonstration, the robot repeats words spoken by a researcher. The robot performed a simple dance routine to the tune of the school anthem for reporters before it was assigned to greet visitors at the school’s Historical Exhibition Hall celebrating the school’s accomplishments.
Granted, it’s not going to win any awards on its technical merits, but at least they took some time to make it look friendly (unlike say AndyVision, a recent example by the much more affluent CMU). The research team had previously worked on industrial robots (this is their first service robot). One of the team members said they plan to develop smaller, more refined service robots in the future. A few more photos and videos follow after the break.