One thing that’s really missing at this year’s CEATEC 2010 exhibition is robots, at least from the bigger companies. One exception is Fujitsu whose so-called “Social Robots” may not look like much from the outside but are actually quite sophisticated. Even though the teddy bear robots sounded pretty creepy (they keep making weird noises, which you can hear in the video embedded below), I was brave enough for a hands-on test.
I was surprised how responsive the robots actually are. It takes just a split second to detect the presence of a human being (the bears have a sensor for that built into their nose) and after that, it’s possible for them to interact and “communicate” with humans through face recognition and constant tracking of the position of the human conversation partner.
Depending on how you behave, the bear reacts differently: it laughs, waves its paws, moves its feet etc. (the robot are hundreds of pre-programmed patterns of behavior). The bears are equipped with 12 joints, multiple touch sensors, microphones, speakers, and accelerometers.
Just like the famous (and much cuter) robo seal Paro, the goal here is to sell the robots to nursing homes and schools.
Here’s the video I shot at Fujitsu’s CEATEC booth: