SUPCON Robot Control Research Institute (a division of Zhejiang University) is marketing a new service robot called SURO-P. Although you can’t see them in the above photo, the SURO-P has large rabbit ears on its head since it is meant to look like a cute magical bunny. The mobile robot has navigational planning and can give guided tours in most venues. Like many similar robots, SURO-P comes with a touch screen (from the looks of things, it may be a tablet) that can display maps or product information, and it has face recognition, speech recognition, and simple chat capabilities.
Anyone can easily supervise the robot over a wireless network using a smartphone or tablet (to stop the robot when necessary), but the company claims that isn’t necessary thanks to its world class autonomous path-planning technology. It seems likely that SURO-P’s chassis sits on top of the SURO mobile robot research platform (also developed by SUPCON). The SURO unit contains a number of sensors including ultrasonic range detectors, stereo cameras, a laser range finder, and GPS navigation and mapping. These should prevent the robot from ramming into objects or people.
Although rather simple in terms of its design, the LED array in its head can express a variety of animated emotions, and its arms can swivel. The robot’s appearance was done by Feel Design, an industrial product design company. SUPCON and Feel Design have developed a number of simple service robots over the past few years (see Hai Bao, Unicom’s “waiter”, and an earlier service robot). These and other examples from around the world seem to be suffering from technological stagnation.
[source: Supcon (CN)]