Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics starts to mass-produce its humanoid robot, including the high-profile social humanoid robot, Sophia.
Sophia is a prominent example of realistic humanoid robots which embody AI. The aim of designing Sophia is to incorporate it into nursing homes as a social robot.
The technology used by Sophia
Sophia uses speech-recognition technology from Alphabet and speech synthesis from Cereproc. Besides, it also has Hanson Robotics’ own software for analyzing conversations and generating responses. Due to the technology used, Sophia can hold a simple conversation on limited subjects, imitating human gestures, and has 60 facial expressions. Furthermore, this humanoid robot even has the ability to sing. In 2018, the robot was upgraded with functional legs.
Production of humanoid robots
Hanson Robotics is currently preparing to mass-produce Sophia and three other social humanoid robots. The production will begin in the first half of 2021, as researchers expect that the pandemic will open up new opportunities for the robotics industry.
“The world of Covid-19 is going to need more and more automation to keep people safe,” David Hanson, founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics. He also commented that robots like Sophia could have various applications in different sectors such as healthcare, customer service and hospitality. For instance, one of the new Hanson robots, named Grace is intended for the healthcare sector.
Hanson aims to sell thousands of robots in 2021.
“Sophia and Hanson robots are unique by being so human-like. That can be so useful during these times where people are terribly lonely and socially isolated.”
Applications for robot amid the pandemic
According to experts, COVID-19 pandemic may encourage humans to form relationships with social robots sooner than expected. “I can infer the pandemic will actually help us get robots earlier in the market because people start to realize that there is no other way.”
Here are some applications for robots in different workplaces. In the UK, robotic cleaners have been deployed at busy transport hubs. At the same time, people started using robots to attend to quarantines hotel guest and serve customers in cafes.
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