Robots are taking over just about every aspect of our lives, and for those parts that need automation or helping us out in a tight fix, we don’t mind, but somehow, when it comes to tasks that require human interaction, robots don’t quite make the cut. Who would you rather have read you a bedtime story – a doting father who is able to adjust the pace of the story with the tone of his voice according to a situation, or a robot that plainly spews out word by word without giving any thought to the context. Still, advancements in the robotics category must be hailed, and the ETRO reading robot from the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) of Korea is a start.
This humanoid robot is powered by the Linux operating system, relying on computer vision as well as stereoscopic cameras to figure out faces, letters, and objects in front of it. Should you hold a book or document in front of it, it will use the integrated text-to-speech synthesizer to read aloud what is pasted in front, and you can even use voice commands to have it perform simple operations, including retrieving traffic or weather related news over an Internet connection.
Far from being a C3PO, the ETRO will not be revolutionizing classrooms anytime soon, although I do believe that there is a place for the ETRO to be integrated into our society – we just gotta carve out that niche.