What a year!

2017 has proved a productive year for advancements of artificial intelligence throughout the world, bringing autonomous robots to the forefront of society. With this in mind, here’s a minor insight into the growth of robotics this year.

In January, Alice Smellie from the Daily Mail published a perceptive article My New Nanny’s a Robot! in which she discussed the various practical abilities of modern robotics. Robots of London were featured as her main point of reference and research, introducing Pepper, NAO, Promobot and RoboThespain to readers throughout the country. This marked only the beginning; foreshadowing further interest in humanoid robots than ever before.

Other articles driven by the expanding industry this year include Claire Thorpe for Cosmopolitan’s August edition on Would You Date a Robot? - Which focusses mainly on the Alpha 1S, but also features Pepper, discussing the impact and use of humanoid robots as companionship and entertainment for the lonely. Along with another, similar articles by Smellie for the Daily Mail September, Who Needs a Husband When You Can Have a Robot?

Robots of London has noted a recent rise in popularity of all robots, but particularly Pepper. Demand has grown dramatically, prompted by collaboration with prominent corporations to improve and entertain guests at conferences and events. Peppers are also being distributed within various company offices to act as receptionists and entertainment. Pepper has a promising future ahead!

Robots have been progressively making themselves known across the breadth of society. As mentioned in a previous blog post, robots have recently been featured on the BBC’s established series The Apprentice as a task for the remaining candidates, which showcased abilities of the compact yet versatile LYNX robot by Ubtech. And in perhaps one of the most bazaar turns of events Sophia, a unique lifelike humanoid created by Hanson Robotics, made history by becoming the first robotic organism to gain citizenship to Saudi Arabia.

The technology industry is thriving and ever-growing. So as this year reaches its conclusive weeks, it’s time to look at what to expect in 2018…

 

Top Newcomers of 2018

1. Romeo

Within the topic of artificial intelligence, recent focus has centred specifically around the elderly community; how robots can help improve the overall quality of our lives. From the makers of Pepper and NAO, Romeo is a humanoid robot manufactured to provide aid and companionship to the elderly and less agile. Under development since 2009, Romeo is programmed with the ability to open doors, climb stairs, reach objects and can even act as surveillance; allowing you to feel safer than ever before. Romeo is extremely advanced, durable and practical, he is said by development experts to be laying the foundations for an industrial robotics ecosystem.

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2. Jibo

You may have noticed a new brand of interactive home devices sweep the market recently. Everyone seems to be asking Alexa or consulting their Google Home device, finding information quicker than ever to fit in with increasingly hectic lifestyles. But these devices can often feel impersonal and misconstrue basic requests. Enter, Jibo…

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Like other modern interactive home devices, Jibo answers questions autonomously, plays music and sets reminders. However, Jibo has been developed with qualities which will make him stand out from the rest and, in turn, become essential to any home environment. Yes, he is able to learn about an individual and schedule social events around them, as well as recognise friends and family and take pictures on request, but the most innovative aspect of Jibo is that he can also pivot and spin from a fixed point, making him animated when speaking and able to detect the location of an individual to listen, display, or project in their direction.

 

3. Zenbo

Adorable, friendly, mobile and averaging at about knee-height, Zenbo by ASUS acts as an appealing consort for adults and children alike. For children, he is a new friend, teacher, entertainer and storyteller, autonomously sensing and expressing emotion whilst learning to adapt to new environments. For the elderly, Zenbo can offer mobile household assistance, companionship and scheduling in the form of spoken reminders to take medication and attend appointments; he can also react to emergencies by contacting external help through videocall.

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This is just a sample of Zenbo’s vast capabilities. – He can also play music, read recipes aloud, connect to the internet as well as smart home devices and take photographs as a remote-controlled camera. Zenbo is sure to be a popular new choice in family friendly design.

 

4. Byrun

Described by developers at Engineered Arts LTD as a truly dynamic bipedal robot, designs for Byrun commenced back in 2013 as an updated version of the RoboThespian, a robot for interaction and communication as an actor, salesman or teacher – And now the conceptual design is coming to life!

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As a humanoid robot with bi-articulated limbs, fully articulated wrists and opposable thumbs built to resemble human anatomy, Byrun has the ability to walk, run, hop and jump. Like its Socibot predecessors, Byrun’s androgynous head design allows it to take on the appearance of any person or character, adopting the voice and gestures of each individual through projected facial features and varying expressions. Its ability to read facial expression and body language to modify an accurate response propels this humanoid ever closer to humanity.

5. Sanbot Max

Created by the makers of Sanbot Nano and Sanbot ELF specifically for expert patient hospitality, Sanbot Max is designed to reduce operating costs, improve efficiency, carry and tow objects within the business health sector. Sanbot Max employs built in autonomous navigation to map buildings and plans the most efficient route around this space ready to inform patients and visitors, it can even guide them, recognise their faces and take pictures of them on a built in HD camera.

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At a height of 1.45 metres, this versatile machine includes USB, HDMI, 4G data card, hard drive and SIM card, it also has a 10.1-inch touchscreen along with power outlets and switches. Sanbot Max can act as a translator, answering questions autonomously in a plethora of different languages.

You could be seeing this gentle giant within your local practice very soon.

 

6. Panda

Need an extra hand? – Or more accurately, an arm.

Panda is the innovate new product from the German manufacturer Franka Emika. Based on human anatomy and featuring useful exchangeable fingers, Panda is sensitive, lightweight and interconnectable. Panda utilises an app-based programming system, meaning it is simple to learn and, along with connection to the cloud, allows tasks to be shared between robots as part of a community space. Panda can also be connected to enabling devices for home security, with various sensors which react to opening doors and light detection.

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7. Atlas

Boston Dynamics have proven themselves as one of the leading companies in developing sophisticated dynamic robots armed with highly developed motion.

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Atlas, a robot which stands upright, is equipped with hydraulic actuation and whole-body manipulation. It is developed using 3D printing systems, creating a compact, lightweight stature whilst also maintaining strength and stability. Atlas has the ability to manoeuvre through various rough terrains maintaining balanced due to highly industrialised sensors.