With face and motion recognition, this wide-eyed robot could be your next home guard

With face and motion recognition, this wide-eyed robot could be your next home guard
One of the fast-growing categories of robots is the one that can be used at home. Across the globe, several companies are already attempting to create intelligent machines that can assist humans in their day-to-day activities. Interestingly, these are not limited to just large manufacturers, but also include small startups. In fact, some of the most innovative ideas and projects can be seen in crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

One such startup is the Taiwan-based Robotelf Technologies. Their product, Robelf is a close-to one meter tall home robot that can talk, tell stories, make calls and set reminders while also being a security guard.

The technology behind Robelf

The robot works on an Android-based system and this enables it to use many of Google’s services. It has a tablet-like touch display on its head with a resolution of 1280x800. There is a 5 MP front camera, apart from a back camera. Four ultrasonic sensors and three infrared sensors make sure Robelf stays steady and moves about avoiding obstacles in its path. However, it can easily manage to climb over obstacles that are up to 1.5 cm high. Robelf weighs seven kilograms.

According to Linfon Chen, CEO of Robotelf, one of the specialties of Robelf is that it can recognize the height of the person with which it is interacting and tilt its head to the appropriate angle. The company has patented this technology.

For connectivity, this robot uses WiFi and Bluetooth. While the former is used for most of its functions that involve being connected to the internet, the latter is used to connect to Bluetooth-enabled devices like speakers.
One of Robelf's specialties is its ability to tilt its head according the users height. 

Protecting home with face recognition and motion detection

As a security solution, Robelf’s main attraction is its face recognition solution integrated into the front camera. The robot can recognize face, age, gender, hand gestures and facial expressions. The motion detection function can sense abnormal activities and notify owners of the same.

Robelf comes with an exclusive app that helps owners in remote monitoring and control. When there is no one at home, Robelf can move around the house on its own while looking for anomalies and alert the owners through their mobile phones. Chen added that when Robelf is in the guard mode, if it detects faces that it cannot recognize, it will trigger notifications.

Will it succeed?

Robotelf is certainly one of the few startups that have actually managed to come up with a final product in a crowdfunding space where several companies that have promised R2D2-like companions have largely failed to deliver.

However, there are several factors to consider when evaluating its prospects. In terms of design, Robelf’s face could remind some of certain Japanese comic characters, and this may or may not be advantageous depending on where the product is going to be sold. It also has a rather shrill voice that might drive you nuts if you hear it throughout the day.

From a purely utilitarian perspective, however, it is disappointing that the robot has two hands that are only meant to complement its humanoid form. Given that the company had gone the extra mile to add two hands, it would have made more sense if they were actually able to do something other than wave around.

Having said that, Robelf’s security features definitely make it appealing to homes that require a guard. We have not been able to test how well these features function, but having seen its ability to recognize people, their age and gender, we can certainly say it shows much potential. Since it’s based on Android, many of Google’s services like voice recognition and language translation can be used as well.

Robotelf is currently looking for companies with which it can partner for mass production of Robelf and has plans to market it to developed economies like Japan and the U.S. 
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