Robots star at Paris’ VivaTech at kick off party

    Last night the amazing Paris City Town Hall played host to the VivaTech opening party. The night before the conference starts, hundreds of guests were treated to a gathering of speeches from key personnel, but also featured robots from a number of startups. 

    The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, spoke about the benefits of technology and even suggested there should be school learning opportunities for kids in digital media to help prepare them for life. Obviously technology is being integrated into schooling systems across the globe, but she spoke about going the extra mile, like an opportunity to learn more about areas of interests from students. If someone takes to a skill like video editing, or programming, these outside of school sessions would allow them to explore those skills further. 

    We also heard from the COO of Retail and Banking Services at BNP Paribas, Sophie Heller who praised the benefits of working with startups. At the heart of it, the people who work for startups are incredibly resourceful with little resources and in large enterprises, that mentality can go a long way. Then there’s the ingrained problem-solved nature of leveraging technology to make things more efficient. This mindset is something many companies should consider, not just acquiring a startup for their IP, but to work with startups and learn to integrate that hustle inside their culture.

    There was one group of startups on show last night, that was robotics. while there were a number on offer, the star of the show was Leenby, a semi-humanoid mobile and autonomous robot from Cyberdroid.

    Leenby instantly drew a crowd and with its head-mounted lidar guidance system, led eyes and a tray of drinks, its easy to understand why.

    Measuring 1.4m tall and weighing 30kg Leenby has an 8 hour battery life and can understand and navigate an ever changing environment around it. It does that using two lidar sensors and a stereovision camera system, the robot is able to map its environment, recognize objects, and detect people.

    Consequently, the robot can direct itself towards a predefined lightweight object in order to grasp it and hand it to a designated person. Obviously as technology improves the weight of items it can carry would improve, increasing the use cases possible.

    Leenby is designed to address the needs of the elderly and disabled, both at home or in a medical or nursing environment. Being wireless, the list of potential tasks Leenby could perform includes escorting a person back to their room (even hold their hand), delivering food and beverages, detecting a person in immediate danger and formulating the right solution, and interacting with the person and securing their environment.

    Started back in 2011, Cyberdroid is now in its 5th generation and can interact using speech recognition and synthesis. When a keyword is said that it understands, the robot will react with emotions and speak back, as if that person was interacting with another human.

    Although designed to function autonomously, it can be connected to Bluetooth, Wifi, mobile and even 4G. This opens the door to pushing scheduled commands to the robots, allowing routines, even across patients, through the day.  Even better, they’ve added support for around 5 languages, supporting even more potential applications internationally.

    Strapped to the back of the robot is an accessible laptop, as well as a speaker that emits the sound when communicating with people. In this implementation, there’s also a USB port built into the serving tray so you can recharge your phone from it.

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    For all of the photos from last night, here’s the gallery, enjoy, the Paris City Town Hall really is a stunning building.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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