Image above: Screenshot from a Furhat Robotics video.
The Stockholm-based startup company Furhat Robotics drew great attention to its social robot at the Web Summit in Lisbon in early November.
On stage at the Web Summit in Lisbon, the Furhat robot turns to the audience and says:
“I’m very excited to be out in the world. I’m told I have a lot of work to do. I can help out in so many ways.”
“My mission is to make technology more human friendly,” the robot exclaims, nodding its head.
Already in 2012, the company won the Robotdalen Innovation Award, and has since then been supported by the Vinnväxt winner Robotdalen. Over the years, Furhat’s social robot has become increasingly advanced and today the company collaborates with large multinational companies like Disney, Honda, KPMG, Deutsche Telekom and Intel. After the Web Summit, interest will hardly be less for the social robot.
This is the technology behind the social robot
Furhat Robotics social robot can keep up a conversation the same way people do, by speaking, listening, showing emotions and maintaining eye contact. The goal is to perform, based on conversational Artificial Intelligence (AI), in a natural way so that people want to interact with the technology behind it.
A unique thing about Furhat is the robot’s face. With advanced computer animation, different characters and experiences can be created. The robot’s face can look like a child, a man, a woman or even like a dog. Because it is possible to change the look of the robot, its facial expression and its voice, it can be adapted to different situations and environments.
”We want to build a machine that can be like a copy of us people. It’s no new idea that humanity has been fascinated by this for hundreds of years,” said Samer Al Moubayed, CEO of Furhat Robotics, in an interview with AP Archive during the Web Summit.
See interview with Samer Al Moubayed from Furhat
Advanced language technology
The new thing today is that artificial intelligence and advanced language technology make it possible for the robot to be more vibrant and intuitive. This means that developers based on the robot’s software and artificial intelligence can build new advanced applications. It can serve customers, provide companionship, train employees or teach a language. The robot can thus become more commercially viable and used in environments such as airports, malls, hospitals or offices, for example to guide people right or answer questions.
Because the robot supports 40 languages, it also fits well in international environments.
“This is the pinnacle of many years of research and development both internally and through cooperation with industry and our technology partners. From the start at KTH we have taken Furhat to a point where social robots can become a reality today,” says Samer Al Moubayed, CEO of Furhat, in a press release.
During the conference Internetdagarna in Stockholm, 21-22 November 2018, the Robotdalen will showcase the Furhat robot in its booth. It will give an opportunity for anyone, face to face, directly talk to a robot and try out how social it can be.