The world’s first “social” robot will be joking, dancing and chatting with attendees to Australia’s largest robotics festival in Brisbane this August.
Pepper the robot will be at the Robotronica festival, opening on August 20 at QUT’s Gardens Point campus.
Pepper’s interactive show will show off its socials skills, with a few audience members to be invited to speak with it after an onstage demonstration.
The festival will also have robot battles, a glimpse into the hospitals of the future and a series of presentations and discussions.
Australian Centre for Robotic Vision project manager Belinda Ward has been part of the QUT team working on Pepper.
“Pepper is really designed to be a companion robot, not really designed to do physical tasks as much as to be there to have a conversation with, to provide information, to get people interacting,” Ms Ward said.
The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision helped apply new technology to Pepper’s camera-based vision, meaning it can better identify things and navigate its surroundings.
Researchers at Softbank Robotics, the company that developed Pepper, hopes social robots will soon be a common sight in households.
Ms Ward said she could definitely see the robots playing a role in the future.
“I’m not sure if I’m going to have a robot at home with me, but I think in more public environments it may well happen,” Ms Ward said.
“When you go into hospital or a healthcare facility it might be totally reasonable to be met by a robot like Pepper, who might help you or show you around,” she said.
Pepper has the ability to speak 19 languages and has been hired by businesses around the world to work as a receptionist.
Alongside Pepper will be a range of displays and activities that will showcase the latest robotic applications in healthcare and education.
The Hospital of the Future showcase will feature new technology that will be important to the future of healthcare.
QUT Professor Mia Woodruff has been involved with the showcase and said there would be educational and interactive elements.
“People will be able to have their faces scanned … in a non-invasive and quick way and then see how we create a 3D image out of that,” Professor Woodruff said.
Much of the technology in the exhibit will be an insight into the work of the soon-to-be-launched Herston Biofabrication Institute, which will attempt to improve healthcare by advancing 3D scanning, modelling and printing technology.
The festival will also delve into what effect robots would have on the future of certain industries.
This will include panel talks on what robots would mean for education, law enforcement and intimacy.Discover More