Need a Little Robotic Help Around the House? Say Hello to Romeo

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Good help is hard to find. So why not just build it? Project Romeo is a €10 million project aimed at creating a robotic helper for those who can no longer live on their own. Since 2009 a collection of expert institutions, including Aldebaran Robotics makers of the Nao, have been collaborating to bring the conceptual robot to life, and now the prototype is ready to say hello. In a short demonstration video (see below), Romeo greets the world and promises that he’ll soon be available for housework. Controlled through a voice interface, a completed Romeo should be able to tidy up, fetch common objects, or even pick someone up if they fall. The 1.4 meter (about 4′ 7”), 40 kg (88 lb) robot is targeted to cost around €250,000, but it could be many years before it is ready to actually work – the prototype isn’t even shown walking. Considering it is supposed to provide assistance to patients who could possibly be blind, autistic, or severely arthritic, Romeo likely has a long way to go in regulation and legal battles even if it clears engineering hurdles. Still, seeing Romeo give his friendly greeting gives me hope that assistant robots will be ready to help us in our homes soon*.

If you want to see more of Romeo, check out the conceptual artwork below the video.

Romeo at home2
Romeo cooking
Romeo on stairs

*Where “soon” means anything from 12 months to 12 years. Or longer. Who knows, this stuff is complicated.

[image credits: Aldebaran, Romeo Project]

[source: Romeo Project]