The latest robotic phenomenon has emerged from Mother Japan!
Since the dawn of science and technology, mankind has always been fascinated by robots. From the mundane mechanical machineries found in industrial factories to the androids and cyborgs starring in sci-fi flicks, robots never cease to amaze us. Introducing Robi – the interactive humanoid robot from Japan that talks, sings, dances, and other cool and wacky stuff. Humanoid robots have long been a part of humanity, with Japan taking the technological lead in advanced robotics and android research – inspired partly by real-life droids such as C-3PO, R2-D2 and BB-8 from the hugely successful Star Wars movie franchise. Real-time speech bots are a rarity until now, as humanoid robots the likes of Robi continues to tease and tantalize our innermost imagination and wildest fantasies. You may have seen Robi in promotional videos and online robot portals, but Robi will only be available in Malaysia as assembly kits for fans and hobbyists alike. The cute and adorable robot measures 34.92cm tall and weighs just a kilo. A fair warning though to all would-be or prospective Robi owners: Please do not rush to buy a complete Robi set – it is not for sale. Robi is indeed a “labour of love” – assembled piece by piece until it resembles a full-featured robot you can truly call your own!
The essence of Robi
Its creator Tomotaka Takahashi is a Japanese roboticist, an associate professor at Tokyo University’s Research Center for Advance Science and Technology, and principal founder of Kyoto University’s Robo-Garage back in 1999. He is also the visiting professor at Osaka Electro-Communication University, Faculty of Information Science and Arts, Department of Computer Science, as well as the technical advisor for Human Academy Robot School in Japan. He has been actively creating humanoid robots which are known for their virtually sleek appearance and cool dynamic motions. Takahashi had always wanted to create a robot with personality not just functionality; a robot that average people can communicate with as well as displays emotions. It is this fact that distinguishes Robi from other personal robots in the marketplace.er robots. With advanced technologies built into its servos, microcontrollers, and speech-recognition engine, Robi is able to interact with you, and to comprehend you intuitively via simple voice commands.
A personal robot companion
It is a robot which merges or integrates the best of robotic interaction with human emotions. Available in single language or bilingual versions, it will totally surprise and entertain you, and also perform simple home tasks. It is rather cool and exciting to be able to talk to a humanoid robot that can respond directly to human speech. Although Robi’s vocabulary range is somewhat limited, it currently has a total vocabulary of some 250 English words. An upcoming ‘Manglish’ or Malaysian-English version will be made available to Malaysian users in the future.
The colloquial extension of “-lah” after each and every sentence gives added charm to the Malaysian Robi edition. Robi is able to execute complex human-like movements such as 360 degree head and pelvis turns. When spoken to, Robi promptly replies with joyful enthusiasm. The omnidirectional microphones installed in its ears are able to detect the one’s approx. location in its vicinity. Typical responses include “I’m tired” after completing a routine and “Please charge me” as its onboard battery begins to drain or discharge. There is also a built-in infrared sensor in its forehead to remote-control your television as well as set-top boxes for your favourite satellite or cable TV programming at home.
Advancement in robotic technology
The crux of the truth is, Robi is considered revolutionary in terms its speech capability, although it is still far from being a perfect humanoid or droid. In fact, it only understands specific questions that are preprogrammed into its system and replies based on those questions. It is often necessary to speak directly into the ears of Robi for it to respond accordingly. Yet, speech recognition technology today has evolved by leaps and bounds. Loosely based upon Apple iPhone’s Siri technology, the speech-recognition software embedded in Robi is tech-scalable and future-proof. Looking towards the future of home robotics technology, the fate of Robi and its successors look potentially bright and prosperous indeed.
Today, more than 130,000 ROBIs have been assembled by fans worldwide, making it Japan’s best-selling humanoid robot ever. The weekly ROBI magazine also features real-life robots, robot designers, robotic superheroes, as well as the latest robot technology. It also includes a comprehensive and easy-to-follow ROBI assembly package, with pictorial instructions to assist the user every step of the way. Assembling a new Robi has never been quite this fun! So isn’t it high time to personalize your very own Robi?
Malaysia welcomes ‘Robi-san’
Robi was recently featured during its Asian roadshow tour at 1 Utama shopping mall in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya from March 10-12, 2017. Previously, it was last seen in Singapore prior to landing in Malaysia. Building on its core theme of “Assemble Robi, Unite a Family!”, the event provided opportunities for families to come together and get acquainted with Robi through hands-on interactive sessions. Most importantly, Robi has been re-programmed to speak several phrases in Bahasa Malaysia, available exclusively for Malaysian patrons only.
The showcase event was officiated by Takahashi himself as well as Hajime “Jimmy” Murano, the CEO and president of DeAgostini Japan. Robi will be sold in parts at selected Malaysian outlets and specialty toy retailers, and includes a weekly DeAgostini newsletter magazine featuring the latest Robi parts, an instruction manual for assembly, and other educational articles focused upon electronics and robotics. Over the course of seventy issues, Malaysian users will be able to build and construct Robi, engage in beneficial face-time and wholesome experiences, as well as spend quality time with friends and families.