Rise of the Ro­bots

Mul­ti­skilled droids ready to help in the kitchen, play with the kids or take us around town will be march­ing into our homes soon, if re­cent tech shows are any­thing to go by. As do­mes­tic bots be­come more so­phis­ti­cated, Mar­i­anna Cerini checks out five you m

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life -

Con­ceived in 1986, Asimo was de­vel­oped by Honda in 2000, mak­ing it one of the old­est droids, and its cur­rent it­er­a­tion is hailed as one of the world’s most ad­vanced ro­bots. Asimo can walk, dance, run and grip things, and re­cently re­ceived an up­grade that en­hanced in­tel­li­gence and dex­ter­ity, so it is now able to re­spond to events around it, carry trays and heavy gro­cery bags, and even serve tea. The bot is also ca­pa­ble of com­plex sign lan­guage. Honda is work­ing on fur­ther en­hance­ments and plans to have Asimo in stores within a decade. Softbank Ro­bot­ics’ engi­neer­ing and soft­ware en­able Nao, 11 years old and in its 5th it­er­a­tion, to move around and adapt to its en­vi­ron­ment with the aid of sen­sors in its head, hands and feet. Four di­rec­tional mi­cro­phones and loud­speak­ers al­low it to in­ter­act with hu­mans, and the 58cm dy­namo dis­plays an ar­ray of nu­anced per­son­al­i­ties. While Nao has great nov­elty value, such as play­ing soc­cer and groom­ing a cat, it can also do some se­ri­ous good. In a pro­gramme called Autism So­lu­tions for Kids, or ASK Nao, the ro­bot plays ed­u­ca­tional games that help autis­tic chil­dren work on com­mu­ni­ca­tion and emotional in­tel­li­gence. You can get your hands on Nao for US$7,990.

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