Robots are meant to be our servants, we should always be mindful of that lest that bunch of digital lifeforms actually gain a certain level of sentience and make an attempt to take over the world. Well, one of the latest robots to roll out is the SmartPal, where it is paraded at IREX 2011. This is not the first version of the SmartPal to be shown, but numerous improvements have been introduced with the fifth iteration – hence calling it the SmartPal VII. One of the changes would be a head that will offer it some personality at the very least, where it will hold a new pan/tilt sensor inside alongside an infrared sensor to help it sniff humans out. I’m using the word “sniff” here figuratively, not literally, just in case you were wondering. Not only that, the inventor has also thrown in a stereo camera to help it “see” better.

Apart from that, there is also a soft padding on its arms alongside embedded touch sensors so that safety is improved. This model is able to bend down to pick up objects from the floor, whereby the “stoop axis” description comes in. A joystick is used by a human to control the robot’s movement, while a Kinect sensor controls the arm. The main idea is to have it function as a telepresence robot, which I am very comfortable with. Better that than a guardian robot, I say.

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