When you step into the reception of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, you may be greeted by a friendly woman who will remember your name and your previous conversation with her.
That woman is Nadine, a humanoid robot who has her own personality, mood, and emotions...depending on the conversation. She has excellent memory, being able to recognize people she has met and her conversations with them.
Nadine was modeled after her creator, Prof. Nadia Thalmann, the director of the Institute for Media Innovation. Looking lifelike, Nadine has soft skin, flowing brunette hair, and she will look you in the eyes as you talk. She is powered by intelligent software similar to Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana.
Besides Nadine, there is also EDGAR, a telepresence robot optimized to project the gestures of its human user.
He’s equipped with a rear-projection screen for its face and two highly articulated arms. A user can stand in front of a specialized webcam and remotely control EDGAR. The robot will mimic the user's upper body movements as it projects the person’s face and expressions in real time. EDGAR can also autonomously act out a script to deliver speeches. With an integrated webcam, he automatically tracks the people he meets to engage them in conversation, giving them informative and witty replies to their questions.
EDGAR’s development was led by Assoc. Prof. Gerald Seet from the School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and the BeingThere Centre at NTU.