The UAE University in Abu Dhabi has built the world’s first fully automated Arabic-speaking robot that can have intelligent conversations with humans – based on information gathered via the internet and through social networking sites.
However, making the leap from lab project to commercial application remains difficult – largely because of funding.
In Dubai, a series of networking events have been launched in an effort to bring together investors and entrepreneurs.
Ben Thompson went along to see if the meetings can spark a wave of innovation for the region.
Say salam wa aleikum to an Arabic-speaking android developed at United Arab Emirates University and billed as the first of its kind in the world. It could enter mass production to help people at shopping malls.
The Ibn Sina robot, named after an 11th century philosopher, can recognize faces, converse with people by speaking in classical Arabic, connect to the Internet, and retrieve information. As seen in the video below, it can also exchange kisses with people.
Software for Ibn Sina was developed by a team led by computer science assistant professor Nikolaos Mavridis, with the mechanics by Hanson Robotics. Mavridis says some companies have approached his lab and asked about using the turban-wearing, bearded bot in shopping malls or as a receptionist.
Doubtless Ibn Sina, known as Avicenna in English, would have been pleased.
Dubai: Ibn Sina, the Arabic-speaking humanoid robot, recently thrilled passengers as he flew Emirates flight EK817 from Dubai to Riyadh.
A first for Emirates, Ibn Sina, one of the world’s most advanced robots, travelled as a First Class passenger on the flight accompanied by Dr Nikolaos Mavridis, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the UAE University College of Information Technology in Al Ain where the machine was developed, along with two of his assistants.
Able to verbally interact with people, Ibn Sina stunned fellow passengers as he was checked in at Emirates’ dedicated First Class check-in counter and relaxed in Emirates’ First Class lounge prior to boarding his flight.
The transportation of Ibn Sina required countless hours of planning and input from multiple Emirates Group departments to ensure the humanoid was cleared for travel by the Dubai Police, the Dubai International Airport and Emirates’ safety team.
Mohammad Mattar, Divisional Senior Vice-President, Airport Operations, said: “The planning and integration of numerous Emirates departments is testament to our commitment to give every passenger, human or not, the best level of care and service possible. Ibn Sina embodies the forward thinking and innovative ethos of Emirates and we were honoured to have him fly with us.
“This was certainly an interesting challenge for the team however through careful planning Ibn Sina was successfully transported to his destination and we look forward to many more trips of the same nature.”
Ibn Sina safely made the trip to Riyadh where he was the key exhibit at a conference and exhibition on higher education.
- Ibn Sina safely made the trip to Riyadh where it was the key exhibit at a conference and exhibition on higher education.
- Image Credit: WAM
- Ibn Sina, an Arabic-speaking humanoid robot, is one of the world’s most advanced robots.
- Ibn Sina was developed at the UAE University College of Information Technology in Al Ain.
- The robot Ibn Sina is able to verbally interact with people.