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If WALL-E lost his wheels but gained an intimate knowledge of memes, we’d end up with this precocious bot.
Peeqo, created by Abhishek Singh for his thesis project at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program, communicates with its human companion via animated GIFs. “My thesis is an attempt at designing a robot around emotion, expression and movement to make it more relatable,” he writes. Robotics are widely adopted for industrial use, but in the home, the Roomba remains the closest we get to a robo-friend.
Singh calls it the “love child of Amazon Echo and a Disney character,” made to live alongside desk-dwellers. It responds to questions and statements using voice recognition from Google Speech API and API.ai, and runs on six modified RC servos. It’s 3D-printed body is built on the premise of the Stewart platform, giving it freedom to swag and twist like a human neck, which helps it emote.
The bot is also a task master, using a Chrome extension to scold you via gif if you stray to an unproductive website while working. He notes that he’s working on Spotify integration so that Peeqo doubles as a speaker, displaying images of the musicians and grooving to the beat.
Singh logged the entire build in detail, and plans to make the coding open-source for roboticists looking to build their own little BFFs.