Nowadays, countries such as Korea, America and Japan are spending billions on robot research. Recently, Korean scientists from ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute) designed two robots which can reveal their feelings and emotions. The scientists named these robots ‘emotional robots’. Two such robots are Kobie and Rabie. These cute robots can show emotional reactions and can even respond to touching. Children can play educational games with them.
These robots have not been named arbitrarily; there is a reason for their names. Kobie looks like a fluffy koala and Rabie looks like a rabbit. Therefore, according to the appearance of these robots, the scientists gave such names. Both the robots have certain special features. Kobie can recognize humans and animals and is able to make direct eye contact with humans. It can easily reveal seven emotions, which include sound, joy, shyness and shock. Rabie was designed by a reasoning system called as ‘Bossam’. Rabie is an educational robot. The term educational robot refers to a robot which helps in educating. The Bossam system allows Rabie to play word guessing games. For example – if a child thinks of a word in his mind, Rabie will try to find that word by asking questions about that word. It is just like a game which a grand master plays in TV shows.
Kobie and Rabie receive their instructions by a wireless internet system. Normally, Kobie can be used in medical services as well; it can communicate with the patients who need emotional help. While Rabie is just like a pet. Like a dog or cat, Rabie serves the function of a normal pet at home. Rabie is not like the other educational robots which have been designed previously. Here the main advantage with both Rabie and Kobie is that they provide education plus emotional support.
University of Hertfordshire in UK is conducting a project concerning emotional robots. They named this project – Feelix Growing. In this project, scientists are designing robots which can recognize human body and language. They can feel and respond to emotions such as fear, anger and joy. Scientists decided to give artificial faces to some robots so as to be able to check whether these robots can reveal facial expressions or not. If this project gains success, then it would be able to develop social and emotional skills in robots. Feelix project consists of 25 roboticists and a number of developmental psychologists and neuroscientists. Basically, the aim of British scientists is to make robots which can interact with humans The project suggests sensory input for these robots. This simply means they can adapt and learn human behavior. British scientists liken these robots to babies. Normally, a newborn baby starts learning from its mother. Similar to that, these robots can learn behavior from humans. A remarkable thing is the software which allows behavior learning as an input. Another wonder is in the fact the scientists are planning to build facial feelings by an artificial or neural network. Feelix project also suggests getting the feedback by cameras and videos; the researchers can fit a camera where these robots work. They can observe how these robots interact with humans and how they respond to emotions.
Nowadays, robots are being used for several purposes. Robots play a vital part in the hospitals in the West. Even in critical surgeries, robots prove to be helpful in several ways. However, one area of concern is the use of these robots to spy on the competitors’ companies. A robot, like a rat, can easily observe and give secrets of the competitor. Hence there are advantages as well as disadvantages with the emotional robots. Nowadays, only humans have the power to switch on or switch off the robotic system of a robot. If the scientists design self-managing robots which can switch on or switch off their robotic system themselves, it may lead to a problem. It will reduce the control power of humans.
When we compare Feelix Growing project and Korean robots Rabie and Kobie, Korea had done some great work. Because Feelix is still a growing project, British scientists have assigned the time of three years for Feelix. However, Korea has already successfully managed to design emotional robots. It is a new and useful technology for the world.