Designing a Home Robot
Integrating artificial intelligence with movement, Temi is an autonomous tablet on wheels by Roboteam. Danny Isserles, the vice-president of marketing, explains why it will help to counteract loneliness in the digital age.
What is Temi and what functionality does it have?
When we envisaged Temi we were seeking a new way to connect. Temi is a device that connects your two worlds, the virtual and the physical. Instead of walking around at home with your smartphone all the time, you have a device with all the technology you use all day every day interacting with you. Your technology serves you instead of you serving it, as you don’t have to approach anything, everything comes to you. It’s a step up in your lifestyle.
What inspired the design?
When we thought about the design, having observed a lot of other robots, the first thing we knew was that we didn’t want it to be humanoid because it would be creepy and we also didn’t want it to be cute with blinking eyes because when you try to make a robot human or emotional, in a way you get a stupid machine because it’s not as emotional as a person.
We looked to the iPhone, a very slick, very sexy and very functional device. We wanted to make Temi the iPhone of robotics so it’s clear that it’s a device and not some kind of weird humanoid.
‘ Your technology serves you instead of you serving it, as you don’t have to approach anything, everything comes to you. It’s a step up in your lifestyle. ’
Would you say Temi is about seamlessly integrating technology into day-to-day life?
It pretty much has all of the technology that is being produced today in one device. Imagine going into your house, leaving your smartphone on Temi’s charging tray, and connecting with your friends and family by using voiceactivated video-calling. You see your friends on the screen, but instead of holding the tablet in front of you or standing it on something, Temi’s technology locks onto your face and from that second you can just do whatever you want: wash the dishes, walk around and you don’t have to do anything to enjoy it properly. If you’re not at home you can use Temi to be at home, so if you’re on a business trip and you miss your kids, you can just call your Temi and be with them. It’s the closest thing technologically to ‘Beam me up Scottie’ right now.
We’re aiming the product at the consumer market, for anyone from age 3 to 100. That’s why it’s a one-button device, you don’t need to know anything about technology to work it, so elderly people who have problems working a smartphone can also use it as an assistance robot.
Is it fundamentally about connecting people?
Yes, facilitating connections between people is at the core of Temi. While we hope that Temi will serve an emotional need that is not its main purpose. We think you should just talk to your friends and family more, and that’s what Temi does. A lot of people try to defy loneliness these days, but I don’t think that a machine’s user interface can help you do that.
We’ve become so addicted to smartphones, but texting isn’t a conversation, it’s ping-ponging information. Even a phone call – it’s nice – but it’s not the same as seeing the person in front of you and looking into their eyes. We understand that no-one will stop using smartphones or stop using phones or texts, and although we can’t fight technology we can improve the way we enjoy it.
‘ A lot of people try to defy loneliness these days, but I don’t think that a machine’s user interface can help you do that. ’
Why did you open-source Temi?
It’s all about open platforms these days. There so many talented young people all over the world who are developing really cool things. I think there is a special interest among developers because Temi opens a new dimension. Instead of something that is static, Temi enables them to develop apps for a moving machine, one that can recognise and follow people. Take, Duo Lingo, a huge language learning app and imagine that instead of just looking at the screen you can walk around with Temi and when it sees a table it says: ‘This is a table’ in Spanish.’ The opportunities for developers are huge.
Original Report by LSN Global
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