Robotic Romeo

Feb 08, 2011
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O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? But this Romeo has nothing to do with Shakespeare and everything to do with robots being a companion and helpmate. And not like that…if you were thinking “hmmm, Romeo huh?”

Romeo is a humanoid robot which stands 4 feet 7 inches tall and weighs around 88 pounds. The robot will have 37 degrees of freedom to give it fluid movements as well as the ability to sense and avoid obstacles. As an advanced humanoid, Romeo is designed to be a loyal companion to help the elderly and the people with disabilities.

Aldebaran Robotics in France is working on Project Romeo with an objective of developing a humanoid robot “to become a real assistant for an elderly person, visually impaired and/or suffering from loss of autonomy.” Romeo will be able to open and close doors, grasp a glass, bottle, or keys, but will also be able to assist people who need help moving around their home or who have fallen and need help up from the ground.

Project Romeo scenario states, “the robot is able to assist a person in his/her day-to-day tasks when he/she is alone. It is also able to go and get objects in another room and put in order those which are not at their right place, as it could be bothering and even dangerous for a person with a visual impairment. Romeo can also become a mobility assistant able to help a person to walk or get up from an armchair.”

“Beyond its physical abilities, Romeo has to come with a very ‘human-friendly’ interface, voice and gestures being the principal means of communication with the robot. It will have to understand what is said to him, carry out simple talks and even feel the intentions and emotions of its interlocutor in order to deduce the actions it has to realize,” said Aldebaran. The company intends to have Romeo on the market by 2015.

Romeo will first become available to Project Romeo partners and university researchers. After improvements, Romeo will be offered to hospitals and nursing homes, and finally to the public. Romeo has an expected price tag of about $340,775 (roughly 250,000 euros), according to IEEE Spectrum. Hopefully Romeo will become less expensive, realistically so that average consumer will be able to afford it.

“Oh, Romeo, please bring me something to snack on from the kitchen and then take out the garbage.” That will be the day, but that is also supposed to be within Romeo’s ability in being a companion to help out those that cannot do for themselves. Romeo will also help entertain its owner, combating loneliness, and keep an eye on their health.

Here’s a video, not of Romeo as I couldn’t find one, but of Aldebaran’s new Nao Robot. Nao has been around for quite some time, with continuing improvements as the years roll by. Romeo is to be adult-sized, so think of this as a little, less accomplished-brother? Aldebaran plans to give us a first look at Romeo this year.

Computer-Generated Image Credits: Aldebaran Robotics

Author: Tessa