When Artificial Intelligence Meets Robotics


Robots are becoming an integral part of today’s world. Long gone are those days when robots are merely robots. We are now seeing more robotic solutions that integrate artificial intelligence (AI) technology. These AI-based robots behave in a much more humane way, coupled with more flexibility and learning capability. Take a look at the South Korea’s first AI news broadcaster, AI Kim. It has recently sparked mixed reactions from the public where some are amazed and some are freaked out. Amid our simultaneous fascination with and fear of AI, it’s undeniable that AI has brought a lot of excitements into the field of robotics. Let’s dive into some of these fascinating examples.

MOFLIN, an adorable AI robotic pet with emotional capabilities

Taking a nature-inspired approach, Vanguard Industries has designed MOFLIN, an AI pet robot that can interact with humans. Its built-in 2D emotion expression map allows this furry creature to show how it feels, such as happy, secure, stressed, and so on. Studies show that pets take on their owner’s personality. Thanks to emotion artificial intelligence technology, MOFLIN can do this as well, just like any ordinary pet. It has its unique personality, depending on its life experience and how it interacts with its owner.

Furthermore, MOFLIN is using its unique algorithm to learn and adapt as it evaluates its surrounding from a combination of sensors. It will realize that different people have different ways of interacting and communicating, thus it will react accordingly. MOFLIN will also express its feelings through a range of sound patterns and movements made possible by its actuators. Its ability to evolve, acclimate and get attached enable it to more accurately mimic real pets. Instead of a rigid and emotionless robot, this cute little furball can certainly melt your heart. It can even serve as a therapeutic aid and soothe one’s soul, establishing a healthy pet-human relationship. The best part? There will be no allergens and no need to clean up its messes!

Robot pet that uses emotion artificial intelligence technology

MOFLIN, a fluffy AI pet robot

Moxie, an endearing robot companion for kids

Launched by a social robotics startup called Embodied, Moxie is designed to help children develop their social, emotional, and cognitive skills. This little one uses a machine-learning platform called SocialX to process and interact with the children naturally. It can understand and express its emotions through emotive speech, along with believable facial expressions and body language. Furthermore, it can also recognize and remember people, places, and things. Thus, this leads to a sense of trust and empathy, allowing it to bond with the children. Moxie teaches children life lessons, such as kindness, friendship, empathy, and respect by assigning missions to them. The missions include drawings, breathing exercises and meditation, reading, and exploration of ways to show their kindness to others.

With Moxie, children can enjoy themselves and let their curiosity run wild through this play-based learning. As Moxie learns more about the child via machine-learning capabilities, it can personalize its content to assist the child’s learning goal. The way Moxie deals with the children’ whims is rather interesting. When children refuse to do certain tasks or reluctant to talk about something, Moxie will not keep on pushing them. Instead, it will gently change the topics and come back to them later.


AI-based social robot

Moxie, a social companion for children

A robot that can feel pain and heal itself

If you can’t recall the moment when you stubbed your little toes, you’re the lucky ones. But of course, there are all sorts of pain in life. Pain is unpleasant, yet important for survival since it’s our body natural defence mechanism. And now, researchers are using artificial intelligence technology to teach robots how to feel pain based on a paper published in the journal Nature Communications. The system relies on a decentralized approach that uses AI-enabled sensor nodes to sense pain and then react to it. Compared to sensory information processing of conventional robotic skin, these sensor nodes have associative learning and decision-making capabilities. This in turn helps to minimize the complexity of wiring and improves fault tolerance as well as robustness.

As the robots learn to feel pain, for example, unusual pressure exerted on their body, they can quickly respond through escape reflex. Self-healing is another useful feature of this AI system. The specific self-healing ion gel enables the robots to repeatedly stitch their ‘wounds’ together, just like how our skin heals. Subsequently, this protects the robots from further damage and leads to minimized maintenance cost.

AI system for robot to detect pain and heal itself

Researchers from NTU Singapore have created an AI system that allows robots to recognize pain and heal itself

The next technological revolution is unfurling

As artificial intelligence technology seeps into robotics, it opens the door to a world with endless possibilities. At the same time, it brings up the old debate regarding the hope or fear of AI. Honestly, none of us knows where exactly AI will eventually lead us to. That’s why we fear it. We fear the unknown. Perhaps to some extent, we should fear AI. But we can use this fear as a motivation to figure out ways to draw the best out of AI without having to deal with the worse.


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