New meaning in talking to the birds

HAMAMATSU, 15 Aug 2017:

Japanese education software developer CAI Media Co recently developed a bird-shaped robot for English learners to practice conversation, using artificial intelligence and Internet of Things technologies.

Making use of a cloud service with massive data collected online, the robot Charpy can respond to learners in natural conversations based on their interests and English skill levels.

“We hope that Charpy will help learners to overcome difficulties in conversations,” said Mitsunori Fukuchi, president of CAI Media, based in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, Japan’s Jiji Press reported.

According to the company, Charpy’s character is set as a little bird that likes chocolate. It communicates with an artificial voice similar to that of an eight-year-old boy.

The robot is programmed with 1,000 conversation phrases. With the Internet, the number of conversation patterns increases without limit.

Fukuchi said the robot can handle all English skill levels from beginners to advanced levels using the cloud service.

The robot can recognise conversation partners and their facial expression through an attached camera. It can also use information from past conversations in new ones.

With a smartphone app, the user can enjoy three-way conversations with Charpy and an animal appearing on the smartphone display on specific topics, such as food.

The robot has potential as it can also be used in fields other than English learning, said Akichika Shiomi, a professor at Shizuoka University, who joined the development of Charpy.

The robot is available to preorder online for shipments starting in the middle of October at the earliest. The price is set at ¥42,984. The cloud service will be offered at ¥864 per month.

– Bernama

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