Building a companion robot is harder than you might think. The recent failures of some home social robots have made it even more challenging than it was before to develop such robots. But a startup Zoetic AI has developed new Kiki, an emotionally engaging social home robot that thinks learning AI can win where other home robots failed.
Kiki developers wanted to make a robot for those who want to have a pet and take care of it. So that the cute face is always happy when you come home. Kiki is the robot that learns and develops its character through interactions with its master. The robot analyzes each communication and interacts with a person to become a best friend.
This gadget recognizes people’s faces, understands emotions and moods, adapts to its owner, learns from people and other Kiki robots.
A desktop robot can rotate its head and body to monitor what it sees, but cannot follow it because it lacks wheels. The widget is about 30 cm high and has a built-in wide-angle camera hidden in the nose, while the robot’s hearing consists of a quad microphone array.
It tracks your face in real-time at a speed of 30 frames per second and can recognize a person in low light and at a distance of up to 2 meters. Although it can speak individual words, Kiki communicates with expressive eyes that can express different emotions – from anger and fear to surprise and joy.
Another interesting solution is that virtually all of Kiki’s operations go into the machine itself. The reason is that the company does not want to send unnecessary data to the cloud because it is a slow and insecure process. In fact, the only time Kiki needs an internet connection is when it receives a software update.
The robot has artificial intelligence that evolves and learns from its owner. Kiki will react negatively if you touch it too much, or it will ask you if it feels neglected. It comes with a rechargeable battery and sixteen touch sensors in the body that allow you to pet Kiki like a cat or dog. Once fully charged, the battery will last for at least 2 hours.
The robot expresses emotions through the eyes on an HD IPS display at 60 frames per second. The color of the indicators on the ears and on the sides also changes depending on the mood.
Kiki’s behavior depends on your communication with him. It may love you or ignore you, be humble, sociable, lazy, emotional, or nervous. The developers say that the robot is able to recognize emotions and will try to cheer you up on failure or enjoy the victory. The robot analyzes human behavior when it does funny things, for example, sneezes funny. And if this makes you laugh, then Kiki will repeat it again in the future. And if not, it’ll come up with something else.
Besides, this social robot knows how to dance to music that it likes. On top of that, Kiki is immortal. If its mechanisms wear out or the screen cracks, you can retrieve a save file with the identity of your robot, which can then be transferred to a healthy body.
When it comes to its price, you will have to pay $ 1,500 for Kiki, which is not very affordable for a toy. However, if you are interested, the facility is collecting funds in a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, where it costs a little more than half this amount ($799).