Meet Roboy, Your Social, Crowdsourced, Robot Buddy
In the future, after a day of hoops, high five-ing and driving around town, you might be plugging your best friend into the wall for the evening.
Artificial intelligence students at the University of Zurich have assembled a team of professional robot crafters and given them a mere nine months to create Roboy, a robot that not only mimics the motions of a human being, but could also function among us.
To complete the project in such a short period of time, the engineering students partnered with Swiss tech company Konzept Agentur and a bevy of design firms. They appear to be very serious about moving us closer to our robot overlords.
Unlike other robots performing a wealth of semi-dangerous tasks on a factory floor through efficient, rapid movements, Roboy is meant to safely work and interact seamlessly among us, in our homes, on the streets, and in our workplaces.
According to their website, Roboy's designers got their muse from none other than the human body, tossing out micro-motors, gears and pressurized pistons for a tendon-based system.
"Humans don't have motors in their joints", said the student team's professor, "and we try to be more realistic in terms of imitating human beings."
In other words, Roboy has a musculo-skeletal system, just like we do, protecting it, supporting it, and moving it in fluid-like motions.
The team began their work in June of 2012, and in just two short months, plans to unveil Roboy to the public at Robots on Tour in Zurich, on March 8th. They'll wrap up the assembly process this month, and Roboy has the short month of February to learn how to walk.
It's been shown that humans often warm up to someone based on the welcome-ness of their facial expression. Roboy's designers kept this in mind, and wanting to get things right, they crowd-sourced the design of Roboy's simple facade to Facebook, morphing the final product into something very friendly-looking, based on the number of votes each face received.Continued on the next page