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M3 Robot Baby

The M3-Neony and M3-Synchy were developed as baby bots aimed at testing machine learning software, and specifically to take a look at fine motor skill development. The hardware on this adorable little bot are some typical cameras, a microphone, gyro, accelerometer, and tactile sensors.

I heard about the M3–neony and M3-synchy through this Engadget article but I was disappointed the coverage was so scant. When I began blogging for GoRobotics, I mentioned briefly my loved for HCI, and in particular human-robot interaction – naturally, this article inspired me enough for a second article today. But, as I was excited reading about it, it looks like the article only mentions briefly the research goals of the bots. There is, however, a lot of information about what was used to make them for you gearheads out there. I’m going to comb to find the Japanese lab site if I can, in the meantime here is what’s available so far:

This article at Plastic Pals seems to have more detailed specs on these two robots. The article is long, but features more detailed specs on the bot:

[...] it is 50cm (19.6″) tall, weighs about 3.5kg (7.7 lbs) – about the size of a newborn.  A pair of CMOS cameras for sight and microphones for hearing, as well as gyro and accelerometer sensors, and tactile sensors provide various feedback. The robot has a total of 22 degrees of freedom, powered by high torque (41kg/cm) servo motors sold by Osaka-based robotics company Vstone.

The main focus is on facial expressions and arm gestures, so it is an upper body robot only, with 17 DOF (2 eyes x3, neck x3, waist x2, 2 arms x3), measuring 30cm (12″) tall and weighing 2.5kg (5.5 lbs). The head is equipped with a single wide-angle lens CCD camera, two microphones, a speaker, and 15 LEDs which cause the robot to blush bright red.  Combined with object recognition, speech recognition, and speech synthesis, the robot will be able to communicate in a variety of ways.  The chest and arms appear to be based on Vstone’s Robovie-X hobby robot kit.

If anyone finds out more about what kind of tactile sensors are involved, I’d love to hear about it. Tactile sensors aren’t something I hear about a lot and I’d love to put together an article on what’s out there.

You can catch a video here, and do check out the Plastic Pals article – they have a great gallery of these baby bots.

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