Friday, 24 February 2017

Unboxing of the CATCH Pepper Robot

There was great excitement recently in CATCH HQ when we welcomed the latest addition to our research team. What was unusual, however, was that this new member came shipped from Aldebaran in sumptuous packaging and was honoured on arrival with an unboxing ceremony!

In this case, the Aldebaran in question is not the distant star but a French robotics company, and the new addition is Pepper, a 4ft tall robot that is able to move, talk and interact with the people around it. According to its developers it is the "first humanoid robot capable of recognising the principal human emotions and adapting his behaviour to the mood of his interlocutor." Importantly, it also provides a programming platform to allow researchers to explore and develop that behaviour.

The CATCH Pepper is one of 4 purchased through an EPSRC 'Capital Investment for Robots and Autonomous Systems' grant awarded to the Universities of Sheffield and Liverpool, and intended to give researchers access to the latest in robotics and smart systems. There has been much in the news recently about the use of robotics in health and social care. Here at CATCH we're interested in exploring this further, in separating the hype from the reality, and understanding and influencing the role robots could come to play in the care sector. And Pepper should help us do this.

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