I-FAIRY robot presented by Kokoro at CES 2010
The makers of the Actroid robot developed a similarly applied, yet less spooky robot. Kokoro Co. Ltd.’s I-FAIRY robot was unveiled at CES 2010 in Las Vegas last weekend. The “i” in its name stands for intelligent-information-icon, and as its name suggests, it’s an information robot based on the image of a fairy. Unlike the Actroid robot, the I-FAIRY’s design is more cartoon-like, making it more acceptable. The robot detects when people are standing nearby and automatically begins reciting its lines, so it is being positioned as a guide or receptionist robot for museums.
The robot sits on a pedestal at a height of 130cm (4′3″) and width of 90cm (3″). The I-FAIRY’s body can rotate left or right, its head can move right or left and up or down, its shoulders can move back and fourth and its elbows can rotate left or right – making a total of 9 degrees of freedom. The wrists, fingers, knees, and toes are semi-fixed and can be positioned manually. It is made of iron-aluminum alloy with a FRP and Gloss coating finishing.
Its eyes are made of LED lights (a design idea we already praised in AIDA design) which are energy efficient and reduce the need for motors and parts needed to mimic eyes. Unlike the mentioned AIDA, the I-FAIRY isn’t able to express different emotions by changing the shape of its eyes, but rather change the eye color. Although the different eye colors can help demonstrating different moods of the robot, that concept is a bit odd since the shape doesn’t change.
So far, professional engineers have been required to change the contents of software (voice and/or movements). However, you can change them by yourself with dedicated software which is built into I-FAIRY as standard equipment and you can update them with the latest information easily and quickly.
Users simply record their own voice or use the text-to-speech software to generate the robot’s lines in English or Japanese. Motions can be generated through a simple editing suite or automatically by the software, which analyzes the speech and inserts naturalistic motions. This software automatically generates human-like movements such as “nods” or “gestures” to express the “conversational rhythm” (which human beings unconsciously create) by analyzing “intervals” and “intonation” of the robot’s speech.
By generating motions in real-time, the robot can be used as a stand-in during live presentations where a human speaks into a microphone off-stage while the robot moves automatically. Making use of the characteristics of the automatic movement generation software, you can use I-FAIRY as an MC, put it on a show with ad-libs or use it as an interphone at the front desk. However, there is a lot more to be done in order to make it really serve its purpose. They announced a price tag of $70,000 and (although you get the whole package) it is mostly the price for its software since the robot itself isn’t very impressive.