A research group at Osaka University, led by Hiroshi Ishiguro (Distinguished Professor, Graduate School of Engineering Science) and Yuichiro Yoshikawa (Associate Professor, Graduate School of Engineering Science) together with Vstone Co.,Ltd., an Osaka-based robotics company, developed two types of Social Conversation Robot “CommU: Communication Unity” and “Sota: Social Talker.”
In recent robotics research, robots capable of conversation with people increasingly get attention. However, robots that can give conversation participants a sense of conversation that they have in daily conversation with other people had not been developed yet.
This research group developed two new types of tabletop robot, “CommU” and “Sota.” These robots can express which participants they are speaking to in a conversation. The robots also can perform“social behaviors” that suggest that they listen to other participants. On the basis of them, by showing conversation between robots themselves, they can give participants the sense of conversation.
“CommU” has plentiful degrees of freedom in its eyes, head, and body, which enable various gaze representations. The capability of giving sense of conversation is based on this. The robot can occasionally ask the participant a question or seek approval during conversation between other robots, thereby the participant feels the sense of conversation.
“Sota” is a robot platform based on the research results of “CommU” and developed for the purpose of popularizing Social Conversation Robots. It has simpler architecture than “CommU” and designed by a robot creator Tomotaka Takahashi with aim to be used in the home.
This group will go on to disseminate Social Conversation Robot, by creating environment for software and content development, and exemplifying applications in the human living environment such as information service, livelihood support, communication support, and learning support.
Figure 1-1. Appearance of Social Conversation Robot "CommU"
Size: H304xD131xW180(mm) Weight: 938(g)
Figure 1-2. Appearance of Social Conversational Robot "Sota"
Size: H282xD140xW160(mm) Weight: 800(g)
Figure 2. A example of communication between"Commu" and "Sota"
Figure 3. Examples of Facial Expressions of "CommU"
Figure 4. Otonaroid (left) and Kodomoroid (right), which introduced "CommU" and "Sota"
Otonaroid / Kodomoroid are registered trademarks of Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) and Dentsu, Inc.