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Meet the robot boy with two brains

Oct 2, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

“Zeno,” a robotic boy with two brains, will visit a pair of robotics conferences this month. The 17-inch, 4.5-pound humanoid robot can speak, learn, interact with its surroundings, and even recognize faces, according to creator Hanson Robotics.

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Zeno — being shown at tomorrow's nanoTX '07 show in Dallas, Texas, and on Oct. 25 at the RoboDevelopment Conference and Exposition in San Jose, Calif. — does not carry his intelligence on board. Instead, the current prototype is wired to two different computers, one running Linux and the other running Windows XP.

Linux is responsible for the robot's “physical brain,” controlling its animation, while Windows XP is responsible for its “verbal brain,” controlling its voice recognition and interaction with others, a Hanson Robotics staffer told LinuxDevices. But in several years when Zeno becomes a $300 consumer device, he will be remotely controlled via 802.11b/g wireless networking and software running on an owner's Windows-based PC.

Zeno, at Hanson Robotics's offices
(Click image to play)

To help determine Zeno's physical actions and reactions, Hanson Robotics partnered with Massive Software, said to be the developer of artificial intelligence (AI) that helped create animations in films such as the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Happy Feet, and Ratatouille. Zeno is the first implementation of Massive's technology in the physical, as opposed to entirely digital, world, according to the companies.

Zeno's voice is generated via text-to-speech, both dynamically and from pre-scripted information. The robot tells stories about its life at the “Inventing Academy” in 2027, according to Hanson Robotics, and will be capable of downloading updates over the Internet.

For more information about this interesting robotic boy with two brains, visit the company's website, here. A separate website, “Zeno's Blog,” offers videos and details of the robot's past public appearances.

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