NTU Scientists Unveils Nandine 'A Social and Telepresense Robot'

By CIOReview | Tuesday, January 5, 2016

FREMONT, CA: Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) recently unveiled the social robot christened ‘Nadine’. The humanoid was an instant hit and has already begun work as a receptionist at NTU. With soft skin and brunette hair, Doppelganger of her creator Prof Nadia Thalmann, the humanoid Nadine not only meet and greet visitors, smile, make eye contact and shake hands, but can also recognize past guests and spark up conversations based on previous chats. Unlike conventional robots, Nadine has her own personality, mood and emotions. This humanoid is just one of the interfaces where the technology can be applied. It can also be made virtual and appear on a TV or computer screen, and can be a low-cost virtual social companion too.

Powered by software similar to Apple's Siri or Microsoft's Cortana, Nadine is the brainchild of the scientists at the NTU. "Nadine is somewhat like a real companion that is always with you and is conscious of what is happening," says Nadia Thalmann, Director, Institute for Media Innovation, NTU.

Over the past few years, scientists at NTU have also been working on cross-disciplinary research in social robotics technologies involving engineering, computer science to transform a virtual human, from within a computer, into a physical humanoid.

The University has also displayed its new tele-presence robot named EDGAR which has a rear-projecting screen for its face and two highly articulated arms. Users can control EDGAR remotely from anywhere in the world just by standing in front of a specialized webcam. The robot's face can display user's facial expressions in real time and can also mimic the person's upper body movements. It can also deliver speeches by autonomously acting out a script. “EDGAR is a real demonstration of how tele-presence and social robots can be used for business and education,” says Gerald Seet, Professor School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, NTU. Such robots are good to use at public places, like tourist attractions and shopping centers, as they can offer practical information to visitors.