Twendy One: Ultimate Robot for the disabled

29 11 2007

Twendy One

Recently, the geniuses at Sugano Laboratory of Waseda University unveiled their latest creation, Twendy One, a household robot that can understand instructions and help with household chores. What household chores? Almost anything like getting a bottle from the fridge, using thongs to lift bread from toaster onto plate and carrying a tray of food from kitchen to dining table.

Twendy lifting bread from toaster
Twendy lifting a bread from the toaster with thongs. Looks like she doesn’t want to get her hands burnt

What really blew me out about Twendy though was how she can understand HUMAN instructions and remember the location of things. At the start of the demonstration video, the man wakes up from his sleep and calls out to Twendy. Twendy responses (with a greeting) and moves towards the bed awaiting the next instruction. The man then tells Twendy he wants to get onto his wheelchair located next to the bed. Twendy then offers both her arms which the man holds onto before Twendy lifts him onto his wheelchair. That’s not all, this intelligent robot has sensors all over to detect pressure not only on her hands but body as well. If you think Twendy is too close, just give her a slight push and she will slowly move backwards.

Twendy lifting handicapped man
Twendy lifting handicapped man to wheelchair

As this is an ultra new technology, Twendy’s response is still a little delayed. This is because before she picks up an object, her sensors will attempt to gauge the size of the object so that her hands can be maneuvered to grip the object tightly. Trust me, these sensors are cutting edge. She grabbed a sauce bottle from the fridge and it didn’t even slip.

Twendy is really a household robot that is especially useful for the disabled and elderly (AND lazyheads like myself). As I was watching the video, a list of pre-programmed commands were already brewing in my head.

1. Prepare toast bread and cereals, place onto dining table by 9am.
2. Switch on Su Yuen’s favourite classical music
3. Wake Su Yuen up
4. Pack Su Yuen’s bed
5. While Su Yuen is having breakfast, read out her schedule for the day
6. Clean up dishes after Su Yuen is done eating
7. Do Su Yuen’s laundry

and the list goes on and on… Seriously, even if she is slow, it is perfectly fine because it saves me the trouble of doing it. (to tell you the truth, I procrastinate on my chores a LOT).

When will Twendy become a part of our lives? My guess is 5 years for them to fine tune the AI and start mass production. 🙂

Additional resources:
The demonstration video (MUST WATCH!)
More videos
Twendy One Official English Website




7 responses

1 12 2007
3 12 2007

i hate to say it, but the robot looks like it just kicked the disabled man in the nuts..

5 12 2007

Wow a robot with human emotions? I dunno.. I really wouldn’t want to touch that because once emotions get involved, things can get pretty messy. With emotions, the sole purpose of inventing robots to help human beings will be distorted. Imagine a robot getting angry, refusing to perform a certain task and then kill you ugh.. we might even end up like I-Robot in that scenario (even though Sunny was an ultra cool robot that I’d love to have!).

I personally believe that inventors should aim to keep emotions out of AI because most of the time emotions are the cause of our sometimes silly actions like revenge. There is no point in creating a robot that thinks, feels and acts like a human being because we already have humans on the planet. If we really wanted to achieve that we might as well just start cloning people.

Actually, their website did say that the robot has enough strength to crush one human being so the scenario you imagined is 100% probable haha!

27 10 2009
Angle Silver

lol, artificial emotions. . .

It’s better than just hearing a robot speak . . . flat robot. It’s like a reminder that you have an emotionless object helping you because you’re disabled isn’t so great of a feeling. . .

At least emotions can give it some flavor that your not alone.

16 07 2008

Can it even play video games with me when I’m bored? 😀

13 01 2009

Twendy One will be commercially available in 2015 for US$200,000

29 07 2009

I know that this tech is finally getting to the point where it can live up to the hype, but I’m still skeptical. I guess I was too let down as a kid in the 80s when I learned that robots like Johnny 5 from Short Circuit were really just puppets with really limited scripts.
-Ryan Social Entrepreneurship Meets Tech

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