When I was growing up, my encounters with Robots were limited to cartoons like Transformers! And of course the beloved R2D2 in Star Wars. It was part of a world where cars would fly, and humans could teleport. Simply put, it was a future world in someone’s imagination. I never thought I would ever see a robot.
That slowly changed as I grew up. Robotics became common. We saw them in factories—manufacturing cars, hospitals—doing precise medical procedures, and at home—the Robot vacuum cleaner. It was amazing how robots started doing work that we humans used to do, and they somewhat do it better! But nothing compared to what I know of Robots when I was a kid—one that talks and moves and interacts with humans. (Anyone remember Rosie, from Jetsons?)
Then 2 days ago, I met Robi.
Robi is the first robot I’ve ever laid my hands on, came to my home, one that I interacted with. But more than that, Robi is the first ever robot that can speak Singlish! Haha! Yes, Singlish! It is a fusion of great design and most advanced Japanese technology to provide interactive companionship with the entire family!
You can imagine how excited the kids were when Robi arrived! At first, all of us (even me) SHOUTED out the commands when we spoke to Robi. We weren’t sure if he could hear us. Then when he responded, we squealed so loudly in excitement that I actually told everyone to “Shush… too loud, Robi would go deaf!” Hahaha!
Robi is so so cool! He could reply us when we ask him what is his name, he would do sit-ups and invite us to do it alongside him! We weren’t sure how Robi works or what can he really do, so we constantly referred to the educational magazine Robi for advice and instructions.
Let me introduce Robi first. He is the brainchild of Professor Tomotaka Takahashi, who believes that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots can eventually help foster closer relationships between robots and humans. That’s a great social agenda, and when you meet Robi, you will notice the he does just that! We all huddle together to work out how to best communicate with Robi. Do you know that Robi is now the bestselling humanoid robot worldwide.
Robi can communicate with humans, expressing his emotions through his eyes’ colours, he can talk, sing, dance and even control some household appliances. He has an in-built vocabulary of more than 250 phrases … and like I said earlier, the Singaporean Robi has Singlish and Chinese vocabulary too!
You can see the kids are really enjoying their time with Robi! It’s been two nights and they have been really stretching Robi to do every possible action within his ability (we received a prototype and it’s for promotional purposes only, hence he has limited vocabulary)
Well, so far this sounds like a fun toy. But there’s more! Professor Tomotaka’s aim was to forge closer relationships, and specially for Singapore, he is on a mission: Assemble Robi, Unite a Family! You can build Robi on your own! It is available in parts, found in a weekly educational magazine Robi. Yup! Each issue contains educational materials to teach the kids about robotics, in the simplest and most interesting way. With it, there are parts to assemble Robi (with REALLY easy-to-follow pictures and instructions).
Robi has been designed so that no prior skills are needed by either adult or children to assemble.
The only tool required is a screwdriver that comes along with the magazine. Imagine, after 70 issues, you would have built your own robot—your very own Robi! We tried assembling Robi and I must say, most bits were really straightforward which required little adult intervention. And there were also some parts which needed some strength or precision from an adult. It’s a great family bonding activity!
Robi retails at $28.90 per issue and available at selected supermarkets, convenience stores, bookstores and newsstands from 5 July onwards. The first issue will be available at the promotional price of just $9.90! Customers who subscribe online will also have a promotional discount–More details can be found on the Robi online store
Now, if you want to check out Robi, mark these dates on your calendar: 8 to 10 July! You can learn more about Robi’s emotive functions at Marina Square Level 1 arena. In this special Robi roadshow, you can visit the many interactive stations where you can have hands-on experience with Robi. And you can check out a very video-worthy performance featuring 100 Robi robots in a synchronised dance.
Build Your Robot Contest
Do you wanna build your own Robot? Experience what it is like to build a digital robot via Facebook or Instagram and win a chance to start building your own robot!
This is what you need to do: Collect 9 pieces of Robi, the robot over the next 2 weeks on Facebook or Instagram. Save it on your gallery, until u have all 9 pieces. Assemble the pieces together and post using #Robigram for a chance to win!
All the best and happy building!
Disclaimer: Robi was on loan to our family to check out all the robotics and technological wonders in this little robot. All opinions are 100% my own, and our entire family can’t bring ourselves to call Robi a “it”.