These are robots that take care of people in distress, help children with overcoming of difficulties and replace workers for the heaviest jobs. We take a peek into the future at the robotics institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences /BAS/, in order to find perhaps our best friend from now on.
Robko 11 is a robot that helps sick and elderly people who face difficulties in organizing their world.
‘This robot can turn on video and audio systems, answers phone calls and brings water and milk from the fridge. It can also offer medicines and assist in anything that you can think of,’ Prof. Roman Zahariev explains. ‘Besides that its algorithm has provided an option for the robot to go to the person, push him or her and call the ER if no reply follows. The robot can also communicate, as its systems synthesize Bulgarian speech – it tells fairytales, sings and obeys voice commands. The Internet connection is 24/7, as the appliance downloads information from there and that includes music. Furthermore – no psychological discrepancies are possible and the robot and the person cannot quarrel. Last but not least, the robot is always awake, ready to help in any situation and alert all the time, no matter whether it is daytime or night.
Two robots have become wanted assistants to special kids.
‘Humanoid robots resemble the human body without having full resemblance and should leave nice impression,’ Alexandar Krastev says, while presenting Robby and Roberta. ‘We support with their assistance the therapy and treatment of children with special needs who intuitively imitate them. By repeating the robot’s movements, the kids learn the body’s parts and also how to recognize directions, colors and the form of objects. At the same time playing with the robot helps them socialize, as not everyone in the group is sociable. Besides that the robot can pronounce words, can participate in interesting dialogues, tell stories, entertain, dance and throw a ball. This all helps the kid to start communication – it might hail the robot, shake hands and the ice will be melted.’
The institute in robotics has been developing technologies that will make sci-fi reality and draws the youngest ones to this process.
‘This 3D printer has been assembled at the National Professional High School in Computer Technologies and Systems in the town of Pravets. It is used for prototyping and various objects might be printed with it,’ student Ivelin Stoyanov says. ‘When we have a certain prototype that we would like to print, we create the model, prepare it and print it. We can print it with various types of plastics and the samples displayed have been patented at the BAS. In the future the 3D printers will print houses and other parts of the human body. At the moment those are used at the training of students in medicine, but when technology develops all people will use it.’
Sooner or later mankind will set itself free from this unattractive thing called labor and will take on the spiritual path:
‘The so-called collaborative robots cooperate with the man, they work in the same space with him and are useful for the industry,’ Associate Prof. Kiril Belov says.
‘The modern trend is robots to take up the heaviest jobs and any additional tasks, since they have that undisputed advantage – they do not get sick, do not require paid leaves and the quality of work is constant. This robot might be used anywhere – it can for instance paint or do the assembly job. The mobile robot on the other hand is used for transportation inside the plant. However, people shouldn’t be afraid of losing their jobs, as they will move on to more qualified and intelligent job descriptions.’
English version: Zhivko StanchevPhotos: Diana Tsankova