Pomi, a new robot developed by the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute / Courtesy of ETRI
By Kim Hyun-cheol
A state-run institute has developed a new robot that can see, hear, touch, smell, but not taste.
The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) announced Thursday it is in the process of commercializing POMI, which is embedded with a network-based interactive technology.
The ETRI is applying for five international patents with regard to the robot, as well as planning to transfer the technology to several local companies including Samsung Electronics. The expression software, which imitates human expressions of emotion, will also be available on the market by the end of next month, it added.
The name Pomi came from the phrase "Penguin Robot for Multimodal Interaction." The animal-shaped gadget can move facial parts ― including lips, eyebrows and even pupils ― freely, which embodies various facial expressions, the ETRI said.
Four senses, except taste, are available on the new product. As well as visual expressions, Pomi can emit two kinds of fragrances depending on the emotions it intends to show.
It is possible for the robot to communicate with humans in a more realistic manner by the use of a heart box on the chest, which enables it to express emotions to those who touch it by displaying different kinds of heartbeats.
With auditory functions, Pomi is also programmed to answer its users through voice-recognition technology. Various sensors built in the robot enable it to recognize and locate the users, the ETRI said.
Pomi is an evolved form of the previous version of robotic pets, Kobie and Rabie, which the institute unveiled late last year. The koala-shaped Kobie could react to touch, voice, and recognize some human faces while the rabbit-ish Rabie was an educational robot equipped with a Web-based reasoning engine inside.
The new gadget realizes interactive technologies, which are pivotal for robotic creatures to offer intelligent services, to a level available on the product market, the institute said.
"Technologies of emotional expressions and user-interactive functions used in Pomi will contribute to the upgrading of robotic companions, and also to the manufacturing of more intelligent service robots," the ETRI said.