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Researchers develop robot to mimic man

posted 31 Dec 2010, 04:56 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 31 Dec 2010, 04:59 ]
A team of researchers at Germany's Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) are developing a robot which they say will be able to communicate and act like autonomously, like a human.
KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - 

'Hi Robbie'.

'Hello, my name is Armar III. I'm a little robot who can help you in the kitchen. What do you want me to do?

Robbie is the latest of the Armar series of robots developed at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. He's an eager helper already but his development has some way to go yet.

'Going to bring you the yellow cup from the sideboard.'

Robbie is destined to become a fully autonomous robot - communicating with people and deciding how to respond -- the result of a new department of study at the Institute called 'anthropomatics,' which Ruediger Dillman says is the interaction between humans and machines.

RUEDIGER DILLMANN, KARLSRUHE INSTITUTE FOR TECHNOLOGY SAYING:

"On the one hand, we analyse the human's movements, the senses of the human being and we try to adapt it to the computer. On the other hand, we try to adapt the human's interactions with machines, so called humanoid robots."

The team hope to create a machine that can interact with people in everyday scenarios - like the kitchen -- learning like a human through trial and error rather than programming.

RUEDIGER DILLMANN, KARLSRUHE INSTITUTE FOR TECHNOLOGY SAYING:

"The research focuses on the robot's ability to learn from the human being. The human carries out actions -- opening a fridge, loading or unloading the dishwasher -- which are saved in the computer, for the robot to try and repeat it to learn how to do it and how to interact with the human being."

Robbie is learning facial and speech recognition -- the ultimate goal is to be able to noiselessly mouth words with the the robot knowing what was said - whether it can hear you or not, according to Tanja Schulz.

TANJA SCHULZ, KARLSRUHE INSTITUTE FOR TECHNOLOGY SAYING:

"The idea is to talk without disturbing others nearby, for example silent telephone conversations. We also believe that we can give people their speech back who for example through an accident lost their vocal cords."

Armar's development is part of an EU funded programme to design a robot that can function in the home - and it seems that day is not too far off.

"Good bye. Have a nice day!"

Stuart McDill, Reuters

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