Sunday, June 21, 2009

The PaPeRo Mini

The PaPeRo is a personal robot being developed by Japanese firm, NEC Corporation. It is noted for its cute appearance and its facial recognition system. The robot's development began in 1997 with the first prototype, the R100, and adopted the name PaPeRo, which stands for "Partner-type-Personal-Robot" in 2001.

PaPeRo has been researched and developed with the intention of its being a partner with human beings and its being able to live together with them. For this reason, it has various basic functions for the purpose of interacting with people.

In order for PaPeRo to interact with people and perform autonomous actions, the robot itself must understand information on the conditions of and outside the location where it has been put. For this reason, various pieces of equipment have been included to detect the outside area, such as a CCD camera, microphone, ultrasonic sensors, etc.

In the spring of 2009 NEC introduced PaPeRo Mini, weighing half of the current PaPeRo model, and has physical dimensions roughly half the size of the original. The PaPeRo Mini has several enhanced capabilities, and has a small LCD monitor on the font of its chest.

The PaPeRo Mini measures 250mm x 170mm x 179mm versus the 385mm x 248mm x 245mm of its predecessor. This reduction in size does not mean a similar approach has been taken with its features as the PaPeRo Mini still incorporated amazing speech recognition and signaling features as well as conversational capabilities that were associated with the original PaPeRo.

PaPeRo uses different technologies to interact with its environment. For example, Its "eyes" are really twin cameras with a face recognition system. When PaPeRo has nothing to do, it roams around looking for faces. Upon finding one, it will try to start a conversation.

PaPeRo also has a speech recognition system. With a pair of powerful microphones, it can determine exactly where a sound comes from and if the sound is human speech. The robot will then interpret the information and respond accordingly. While PaPeRo roams around, it uses an ultrasound system located in its chest to detect objects. If an object lies in its path, PaPeRo's ultrasound system will detect where exactly the object is, and then PaPeRo will decide what to do to avoid the object.

PaPeRo also has sensors located in its head. These sensors can detect if the robot is patted, slapped, etc., with PaPeRo responding accordingly.

Continuous operation time: Approximately 2 to 3 hours
Battery charging time: Approximately 2 to 3 hours
Number of recognizable words: Approximately 3000 (in speaking mode)
Number of speaking words: Approx. 3000

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