Robot guides in South Korean museum

South Korea and Japan are two countries in the world where advanced robots do play an important role in everyday life, at least across far more incidences compared to other countries elsewhere on the map. There is a museum in Daegu, South Korea, which has just rolled out a pilot program that boasts of a couple of guide robots. Previously developed for Seoul’s Museum of Natural History by Corebell, one of the robots measure up to 120cm in height, tipping the scales at 60kg and is capable of getting around by itself on a 2-wheel drive system at speeds of up to 20 meters per minute. Some of the hardware features available to help it be mobile and independent include a camera, a dozen ultrasonic range sensors, 12 pressure sensors, a gyroscopic sensor, and in-door GPS to help it gain its bearing. With a battery life of half a dozen hours before recharging, this robot will help guide visitors through a permanent exhibit, and is capable of being part of robot-themed classes held at the museum.

Another museum guide robot, the KIRO Onbot, will see action in South Korea’s National Folk Museum. This is a remotely controlled robot, being an eye extension of the controlling museum administrator using nothing but a cell phone, where a live video feed will be sent wirelessly from the robot’s on board camera to the handset itself. Sounds interesting and more efficient, but the lack of a human touch at public places like museums makes the visit a little bit colder than usual.

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