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ABOUT THIS EPISODE

with Boris Sofman (@bsofman), Dave Touretsky (@DaveTouretzky), and Hanne Tidnam (@omnivorousread)
We're just now beginning to truly see the the first 'real' robots in the home, from Roombas to toys to companions to... well, much more. How are humans beginning to forge relationships with these robotic devices (/entities!) -- and how will those relationships develop? What do we learn as we begin to forge relationships and interact with robotic toys like Cosmo and Vector -- about robots, and about ourselves? And what do these learnings teach us about the possibility of adding a "personality wrapper" to new technologies?
In this episode of the a16z Podcast, CEO and cofounder of Anki Boris Sofman, and Research Professor of Computer Science at CMU Dave Touretsky, discuss with a16z's Hanne Tidnam where we are in the human-robotic future, the history of robotics that has brought us here, and the next big breakthroughs -- in hardware, software, perception, navigation, and manipulation -- that will bring in the next waves of innovation for robots.
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TRANSCRIPT

00:00:00hi and welcome to the a sixteen the podcast I'm Hannah and in this episode we talk about robotics in the home becoming a reality Boris often CEO and co founder of on key and Dave Turek ski professor of computer science at CMU discussed with me the evolution of
00:00:15robotics where we are and manipulation perception navigation and most importantly in the human relationships we will increasingly form to these new robot entities that will be in our homes so you guys talk about this as sort of the very first real robot companion let's go back and look
00:00:31at the first iteration which was Cosmo why start with the toy what does that represent for where we are now and ultimately where we're trying to get to and robotics yes we started on do we always realize that in order to get into some of these really advanced
00:00:44applications we had to take a bottoms up approach and we couldn't just skip to this holy grail this ten years away we had to think about what are the applications where we could really reinvent the quality what's possible well what is the holy grail so there's all of
00:00:58these types of challenges that involve really deep breakthroughs in human robot interface or manipulation or a I there is a large scale diverse humanoid board like very competent robot for home or from any fetching for other things there's applications involved very high and manipulation in an environment where
00:01:18manipulation is today is probably worked on was driving was five or six years ago where you can already see the capability starting to take form but the reliability and cost constraints are still pretty prohibitive but you can kind of extrapolate words going for us we started with entertainment
00:01:34because I was a way to create innovative applications and actually build the muscle early on that we can carry over into these other spaces down the road Cosmo was a way to use the toy space which hadn't seen much innovation at all but for the first time bring
00:01:49a robot to life where the level of creativity the allowed to have in a toy is much higher and you can build a lot of the blueprints for these products a start to have deeper applications and appeal that's interesting that you feel there's a wider range of creativity
00:02:02there than in something where we already have expectations that's part of the holy grail this mobile but if you there aren't a lot of robots like that a landmark in the history of consumer robotics what is the Sony aibo robot dog back in the late nineteen nineties early
00:02:17two thousands it cost about two thousand dollars back then which is about the cost of a decent laptop and this was the only little mobile robot you could buy that could see I had a built in camera you could program it in see plus plus and could move
00:02:32around so it was a mobile manipulators unfortunately so only sold fewer than two hundred thousand of these over the six year life of the product line in January two thousand six they left the robotics business altogether and so the idea of a consumer affordable mobile manipulator just died
00:02:49and was that because the technology kind of stalled out because there were problems that were not Sir mountable at that time we end up being able to mass produce this this sort of a capability that even five years earlier would probably costs multiples of that amount %HESITATION just
00:03:04been absolutely impossible we've basically became far early products scavengers of the smartphone industry so you have competition you have memory you have cameras that now suddenly cost you fifty cents verses you know six dollars you have motors and accelerometers and the different types of sensors allow you to
00:03:21actually do these sort of things you could do before right and also the supply chain and the supply chain and yeah so we could in effect turn this into a software problem we're now because of the capabilities that everything becomes driven by our ability to expand the capabilities
00:03:35with software they're really hard question is how do you go from no manipulation to manipulation in a small step so if you look at the most popular robot ever in the history of robotics is the room a vacuum cleaner because they found this one task at a robot
00:03:52can do poorly and still make you happy it doesn't matter %HESITATION right yeah yeah right just it's better than nothing good enough most of the time that that was a success right but there aren't a lot of things like that right so if I ask the robot to
00:04:11cook me dinner and it does the same quality of jobs that room but does vacuuming by floor right over the course of like eight hours yeah so when people think about home applications right there's the room but it's down on the floor and then there's Rosie from the
00:04:26Jetsons right which is the full human like doing everything I was going to count how long until the Jetsons reference you got it so the problem is what is the thing that you could do that involve manipulation but that doesn't require a half million dollar humanoid and technology
00:04:43that doesn't exist yet right and so something that a robot could do with minimal manipulation skills that would actually be useful as opposed to just occasionally amusing what if I was just happy if the robot could make me a sandwich and does not be big enough to get
00:04:59the stuff out of the fridge if I take the stuff out of the fridge and just throw it on the counter top if the robot could just take it from there right maybe that would be slowly drag a slice of bread over to a letter that it would
00:05:13not be a full scale humanoid there's got to be something robots could do that would be useful enough that we tolerate them so we're talking about this is in many ways the sort of first quarter quote real robot personality in the home let's break that down what are
00:05:27some of the utilities were not washing dishes yet right if they're not picking up Tories they're not we wanted to leverage this unique mix of A. I. N. cognizance of the environment and the personal interaction with people in the home and really think of this is the first
00:05:42mass market home robot that can actually provide a mix of entertainment companionship but with elements of utility we model this in a lot of ways after the sort of pets you have in your home a cat a pet dog in a pet robot and the pet robot allows
00:05:56us to reinvent the dimensions of the related to how you interact with a pet but the companionship elements still hold he gets excited when he sees you in the morning he'll get really animated when there's people around him we'll explore and kind of wonder on his environment interacting
00:06:09intelligently with things relations you can even had him like little yeah I had a robot for the switch on and I got a letter about yeah you got to clean the litter box so you've recently launched a different robot which is a multi generational Tory how is it
00:06:21different what is evolving from a technical standpoint there is a huge huge leap there are because we now do tethered away from a mobile device and put the equivalent of a tablet inside of this robot's head so he can be always on and the live a hundred percent
00:06:36of the time go back to its charger recharge wake up and that allows them to initiate interactions in a way that previously would not have been possible by somebody pulling you out and watching out we can use the strength of the fact that we have clock an activity
00:06:49in a robot Mr getting into deeper voice interface elements of functionality that that leverage the character aspect in the warmth of it the fact that you can actually see an understanding barman to recognize you personal delivery of information in a way they can be initiated by him what
00:07:03happens down the road is actually starting to have more it intentionally dial into all of the digital pipelines in your life whether it's a smart home your own calendar and particularly when you start adding a layer of mobility that lets you actually move around the home right now
00:07:18there's nothing that I she stages a home together and that way everything is just a and device in a room once you start getting cognizance of what's around you who is in the home be able to move around if you can do a range of things from security
00:07:29monitoring to tie together smart home features like recognizing your windows open but you're a sees on turning off lights when you're gonna be able to remote we check on things like Pat's though the blueprint of your home for furniture shopping or real estate we're already thinking about how
00:07:45you start adding mobility without becomes the next big barrier you teach other from a phone to get the vector now the next big barriers truly being able to exist in indoor environment whether it's a home or workplace and be much more intelligent about how I interact with people
00:07:57and sort of service you can provide so like Victor go check and see if the cat is out %HESITATION and so with everyone of our robots we realize that we're basically making an operating system for robotics applications and technologies and so we've unlocked API's for each of our
00:08:12products where people can access very easily these technologies that have millions of lines of code behind the scenes we start with because of excessive blow by everybody from a seven year old using a graphical interface to do face detection with a robot to teenagers and even PhD students
00:08:26in computer science now instead of having to be an expert in robotics in order to do something like past planning you have access to this API of technologies and we're really interested in how that can become a neighbor for kids of various ages dash we learn how to
00:08:42break through and become interested in robotics in a way that what with the possible %HESITATION earlier has what you think about changed at all with Victor you know the ways that this kind of programming has a ball with vector the capabilities to skyrocket because basically instead of just
00:08:54the limited functionality that because we'll have those deferred that mobile device you know have on board the ability to see hear feel and computer with a quad core CPU that would have been prohibitively expensive for exponentially more options right and so now the sort of programs you can
00:09:09ride expand we've already released to our early customers an SDK that allows them to interface with vector through python and and down the road will probably create a scratch interface like we did with Cosmo as well so for me what's most interesting is having the robot interact with
00:09:24physical things physical things are really hard to interact competently with we built a three story robot doll house with a working elevator and to the students in my car to revise class we're working on that and and they'll work on it again this year that's okay getting the
00:09:40robot to navigate through the doll house use the elevator to move from one floor to another eventually want to have multiple robots in their interacting with each other these are very hard technical problems but when you solve them it's really fascinating to see a robot interact effectively with
00:09:58the world I think there's just something more being able to work with the real robot versus something digital on a screen if your kid learning a program or something amplifying about that just a warning us but with the moment you can intentionally manipulate something it's a sign of
00:10:11really deep intelligence and so that's a big focus of actors how do we identify interesting things in the environment and just like okay them examine them the way up that would that's a surprisingly hard problem but when you do it successfully there's a perceived intelligence they're just amplifies
00:10:25your appreciation of the robot and everything else that I might be able to do one of the articles mentioned recently that Victor feels like a beach head into something bigger and it does seem like you know we're getting air dropped in this sort of little taste of like
00:10:37the fantasy Jackson's robot right like this personality that actually responds you interact with you so how are we gonna start developing this relationship with this being this crew I don't even know what the word as this robot but like it is that an entity site that's the right
00:10:53what are some of the learnings of how we're starting to develop relationships and I think one of the pieces of most people underestimate is how critical this human robot interface challenge is and how novel and unique of a dynamic this becomes until you experience it is hard to
00:11:07understand how that feels and how important is it the same sort of underlying inherent desire to we have those to speak face to face with somebody verses just on the telephone we always thought that this would be the magic even behind Cosmo but it turned out to be
00:11:20even stronger than we realized the way we approached it is we actually have an animation studio inside the company %HESITATION you do we do with folks from Pixar DreamWorks and he starts a background and so the little either using my %HESITATION software suite the wood used to animate
00:11:31digital film and digital video games but we've rigged up a version of because one factor in all over robots in there where they're actually physically animating these characters with the same level of detail the you would see in a movie but the output a spice to where it's
00:11:45a physical character coming to life in the real world how fascinated it's as merger where you have these people %HESITATION come from this world where they used to controlling a story on rails from start to finish into every minute detail we get thrown into a spontaneous environment with
00:11:58all these constraints and unknowns and limited degrees of freedom in the robot but you have the benefit of being physical where everything's amplified in terms of the personal impact of what that does is a whole new kind of physical manifestation of storytelling and they have to partner with
00:12:09the roboticist and the A. I. team the systems team where they have to leverage the knowns of the environment in the intelligence of what's around you like I just recognize somebody I know or I almost rolled off the edge and I got scared so we have these sophisticated
00:12:22personality engine it takes contacts in the real world and probabilistic we outputs one of these like giant short films if you will of reactions that end up games to together into a lifelike robot that feels alive and we've been really surprised by for example I contact we knew
00:12:37that this would be important where you make eye contact to get excited it's a hand out like you know in the you get really really happy kids just melt with that but we didn't realize how powerful that was in in one of our tests we're just optimizing parameters
00:12:50we ramp up the frequency and length of eye contact by I guess I can at our average session length one up from twenty nine minutes to forty minutes all my god this is just a one forever and so you get these like really subtle interactions where it's a
00:13:03sort of data that you can only you will learn about at large scale once you actually fielding these robots what are some of the engagement patterns or the dials that you have learned to need to go up or down when you're watching these human robot interactions develop this
00:13:18is where we're still learning so vectors always on a live so how do you find a balance between him waking up and getting excited in coming out but not being disruptive et or mine chill out but yeah I think the cues were if you get like taken and
00:13:32put back in a charger that's a cue to like be quiet right and so we would interpret that and just kind of grew up a little bit but then settle down right we have an audience as bands from kids to somebody once was a desk Pat at work
00:13:44to an adult or family who just likes little companion in the kitchen table kitchen counter it's really silly Jing that's sort of the volume of the interaction that's right and how do we create a algorithm that adapts to how you used or even give the use a little
00:13:56bit of control where some people want to really active in almost like hyper and excited robots will want to hear some people wanted to get out of like you know kind of hangs out of his I. quite a yeah we never really dealt with that and and just
00:14:09like people take their style of dog to match their desires are personality we're trying to figure out a way to make this dynamic and ideally automatically adapting to the contacts and out on that I'd get it saw we literally have people pulling us in both directions which basically
00:14:24tells us okay this is like a completely new type of consumer category this contention is a key need I mean there's a reason people get cats and dogs and other pets other to your point about personalization it's as F. rate you could not only just choose your breed
00:14:36but then have your dog literally adapt to your body over it kind of reminds me of the people who look like their dogs really we will start looking like that yeah yeah day but yeah there's extremes we have to like you know you want him to always be
00:14:52excited when you come yes easier everyone has different needs expect from gasoline and we're learning about different engagement patters about that is well how bout you Dave what do you notice when you see these you know with these kids developing these programs and teaching there of how do
00:15:04you see them developing their relationships with robots well I mean to be honest to me they're mechanisms that I want the mechanism to work well and I want the mechanism to be beautiful I want people to be able to see how the robot sees the world and understand
00:15:19your wide the robot to this right be well because the robot perceive the world in a certain way or the robot had a plan it was trying to execute and I want kids to see the robot that way well I think it's interesting to ask about the complementary
00:15:32question which is how does the robot change how we think about technology so if you look at things like many systems that have become part of every day life right everybody understands what a menu system is and thirty years ago they did that was a weird obscure concept
00:15:49and now we encounter them everywhere right I mean you're vending machines using a menu system your phone everything on your computer so there there are bits of technology that have become integrated into everyday life so that we don't even think about it anymore my menu system is just
00:16:03one example of that we're beginning to see things like computer vision become part of it everybody's common understanding so but when you something like because you begin to understand what the robot can see right so for example with Cosmo you can see cubes up to about eighteen inches
00:16:20away that's because of the limited resolution of the camera and so you begin to learn when you work with the robot well okay he's got a vision system is a little bit near sighted have to be careful when I show me cube that I don't put it too
00:16:32far away from it so you started to think about this thing is a sighted thing and you're thinking about his representation of the world so you're thinking about robot perception in a way that people only thought about very abstractly before writing a fifty years ago you know yeah
00:16:48you read a science fiction story but now you're living with a robot that can see and so you adjust your behavior is based on your expectations and your experience of robots that see it so that's happening work quickly with speech recognition because of the proliferation of speech recognition
00:17:04applications Alexa and phones and so on but it's starting to happen I think with vision as well and because it was a very important step in that direction so that you know twenty years from now no young person will have grown up in a world where computers could
00:17:20see right computers could always see that's just very different so what you're starting to see is that you know we're changing the populace to make everybody computer literate and what that means is that when you start having people playing with robots who now understand the technology inside the
00:17:37robot let me see you can make applications for them require levels of sophistication that maybe wouldn't have been practical before right and if that's Ford woven into the culture that everybody gets this in high school right then the kinds of consumer products that you build are going to
00:17:54be different but if you look at some of the other tools that have changed our society not everybody went learned how to set type but then we may power point right and now everybody can do visual design most adults know how to use a spreadsheet so maybe you're
00:18:08never gonna be a Java programmer but you can do useful computational task because you learn how to use a spreadsheet and it changes your thinking in some key way it does it so what is the robotics equivalent of something like spreadsheets or power point eight what is the
00:18:23thing that's not so horribly gritty technical but is so powerful that people will want to learn it because it'll let them do the right thing right it'll let them program the robot to make the peanut butter sandwich the way they want it made and to me that's a
00:18:37fascinating research question we don't have a home robots that can they could get a better sandwich that bring the house down yet we do an awful lot with exploring this manipulation space and my personal interest is figure out how to people to teach robots like because Boeing vectored
00:18:53to do when the place in the way they want it done to kind of unlock robotic design thinking to make it you would have enough that people can actually express their intent in a way that gets useful stuff done because if you can get vector to push little
00:19:08things around on the table top and you can make it easy enough to express your intent that the average person does not a computer science major can do that then you can scale up to the humanoid robot that's gonna cook your fancy dinner without the house down it's
00:19:24interesting it's sort of circle back to the way you open this conversation which is that having it be this kind of scale in size and having it be a toy is what allowed you to be creative right you're kind of describing the ability to be creative in a
00:19:37way metal rules on what yeah yeah let's talk about design now so when you start thinking both in terms of the sort of level of manipulation that they're able to do but also in the relationship that you want to sort of test stand foster how do you think
00:19:52about designed from the ground up how did you start to put together the actual creature and this is where the robotics is a lot harder than a lot of other areas of consumer electronics where in a lot of places you can just think okay %HESITATION tries to do
00:20:03this softening to do this and we need a box around it you can do that and robotics because everything is from the very beginning designed where for us it's a few pillar so there's a mechanical side electrical side and kind of the components and electronics that are in
00:20:15there the software which is a huge complexity and enters the character side and industrial design side and so those five have to work together from the early stages because you have to be very intentional where the form factor to capture the character which then the software house to
00:20:29bury with any of the mechanical strains weighted equally are they are at different stages driving at different stages of driving so the nice thing about software is you can continue to push out for years what that means is you have to be very intentional with the selection of
00:20:43the hardware we make it is generalizable as possible to push as much of this offer choices down the road as you can but not limit yourself sort of delay delay yeah the reason because no end vector for that matter or small is because one is that they become
00:20:58kind of non intrusive because it'll take a huge amount of space but especially the case of Cosmo you have something that small it's perceived as cute and can feel quick without having to have a very happy but expensive motors that could potentially hurt some by your playing up
00:21:12the Q. factor to your own advantage that's right and then we come forgiving of any limitations are mistakes that the robot and makes sense so it's not hard it's okay because you're cute I'm not annoyed even better we I should get bonus points for making a mistake for
00:21:24being smart enough to show dropping the show though yeah you about it so yeah so it's not like you need to be married does the child in part it's your the mechanical and industrial design and character have to work together to think about the over arching form factor
00:21:36in a lot of it is driven by constraints like now in our future products we can start putting in depth cameras which give you a three D. model of an environment at the cost because that would have been unimaginable five years ago or even three years ago same
00:21:48thing with motors are fairly expensive and so kazman vector each out for motors so we put a screen for the face because I give this an infinite dimensionality for the personality radio with express what the robots thinking a speaker obviously have the voice part of it as shocking
00:22:04how much you can do with just a couple of one or two degrees of freedom and a voice and a face how about the arms I'm interested in the arms because doctor and Cosmo kind of harken back I think to other ideas about what robots might look like
00:22:17like wall leave tell me about the thinking behind that we realize said like Cosmo is going to be fairly limited in physical capabilities just because of cost constraints but manipulation is one of the deepest forms of and showing off intelligence and saw him being able to get excited
00:22:33about is Cuba go pick it up and you'll be a little bit OCD reorganize the surface that was part of the charm of Cosmo and so his arm was kind of made as a lift to be able to move the box but we very quickly realized is one
00:22:45of the most important dimensions for the personality where it's almost a how the way you use your arms to express yet when you've had just started a prize and it ends up being like his arms as one of the main tools for the animations and and these are
00:22:57all learning that the animators have gotten really great at getting squeezing the maximum benefit out of it and making it feel like this is the characters alive even though you have the tiniest degrees of freedom compared to any anime character what do you think of some of the
00:23:09historical influences were sort of inheriting in our expectations of how these mechanical entities should look I think a lot of the bodices make a mistake where the complete forgo the EQ side and just think about it you know ten can of like your intelligence a does something but
00:23:25doesn't convey any sort of character to it you lose all forgiveness of any limitations you have and you know she kind of become creepy because you now have a bunch of sensors which right really understand what the purposes it's disarming to have a character I called more vector
00:23:38where he has a camera you have a camera in your house it's able to move around on his own but nobody ever feels bad about that because well yeah of course as a Kerry has to see because he's a character you went completely away from the uncanny valley
00:23:49and didn't make him look at all humanoid yeah very very intentional even with the voice we thought about a national voice but if you have something a voice you narrowing the range of appeal by being tonal you apply a very different intent than a five year old might
00:24:02apply right but everybody gets joy out of if you can show a mass of breadth of emotions without having to have the complexity of a voice with very little tool that because we have a voice as an expectation of intelligence that technology wasn't ready to meet yet this
00:24:15idea of trying to pursue humanoid robots which particular is common in like Asian Japan it almost feels like a flawed compass because you end up absorbing all the limitations of humans and their perceived kind of intent where you're stuck by what's the definition of human versus being able
00:24:31to play to your strengths of what your weaknesses so we just embraced the constraints in the form factor but he is a kind of knitting together of other older ideas as well the first time I saw one of the security robots in like an underpass in the city
00:24:43was kind of patrolling the parking lot and I got really up close and heard this lake kind of worrying row body noise and have this like moment of revelation where I was like it's not actually making that noise that's just somebody's idea of the robot noise that it
00:24:59should make so that we know it's there having seen kind of the industry of all what do you think are some of those inherited ideas that are impacting are designed today it's always been a merger of direct robotic influences and and on a bike influences and so on
00:25:13the robotic side there's definitely this idea of kind of R. two D. two Wally we have this cute robot but one is like kind of your fearless companions like nobody would ever accuse R. two D. two being dom even though he has very limited degrees of freedom and
00:25:26same thing with Wally right and so that was definitely kind of a deep inspiration the other influences of animals and so we have %HESITATION kind of design been mood boards where things like obviously puppies and kind of dogs owls really perceptive animals that have where the eyes become
00:25:40like a really really keep part of their communication language and they can show emotional intelligence in a way that is really really hard purely mechanically but ends up being almost infinite when you ride eyes invoice to it so for moving from because much of actor are you starting
00:25:54to see a difference in the way that children interact with versus the broader household and other types of different ages like do you get different learnings from those different relationships yes kids in a lot of ways have an imagination that just amplifies the magic of these types of
00:26:10experiences they think these robots are live get three like you may not understand how to play and follow the rules of the game for you love the idea of a character still and that actually is like almost universal was almost as natural as like swiping on a screen
00:26:21where you see these like one year old's excitement screen right it's a basic human tendency to sort of fell and that yeah Imation is where some of the studies were %HESITATION she'd seen being done or even around kids with autism whether something so unique about the idea of
00:26:33a character like Cosmo or vector with is a response there there is very very unique compared to any other type of engagement I was thinking about that when you talk about the eye contact thing right that that's an immediate feedback loop up for increased eye contact as we've
00:26:46had as yet studies within university about than the U. K. where the engagement patterns in the collaboration around because no is unique compared anything that they'd seen so in those kind of early emotional relationships that are going on I mean you can sort of anticipate the affection but
00:27:02what was something that really surprised you we built because mode with a lot of games integrated thinking that engagement will be around playing games and he's like this little robot thank you buddy to compete against and the play against collaborative we are competitively and ID games also create
00:27:16a lot of contacts for motions so you know because you win you lose your board your front your motion yet exactly yeah and you can almost like engineer scenarios that allow him to be emotionally extreme and whatever is that midway much sent on the life and we were
00:27:29just shocked to see in summer play test early on is that you're playing this game that's kind of using the cube is a buzzer called quick top where you competing against because now and if you beat on %HESITATION kind of get upset or maybe okay Grampian slams Cuban
00:27:43storm off but he gets really sad when he loses and there were kids in the play tasks that were playing with their siblings and one of them would like tell the other one Hey stop it like you making him upset let him win the game and the S.
00:27:55you like feel really bad for this little robot who would like get upset when he lost their empathy was so high yeah and that S. you throw a game just to make them happy and I was like wow like you don't see that either yeah game you would
00:28:07never feel bad playing pac man at our lake fortnight whatever yeah yeah it's just you were trying to win and hear the competitive this lost out to the empathy of a character that she cared for and all of a sudden right okay there's like something really really special
00:28:22here we started thinking how to amplify the lot of those learnings from there actually lead to vector because we address the limitations that just weren't possible because of because of hardware so what changed in vector as a result of that empathy learning so we realized voice was a
00:28:36big one because people thought that they were talking to Cosmo and he would respond ended attribute intelligence to it even though he had no microphone and no ability to hear you we want to do is if you yell at him he gets really upset and kind of backs
00:28:46off yeah or if the door to slam he turned in the direction of wonders what it is and so we wanted to bring life to the other one is tactile where when you pick up because now he recognizes it and who get grumpy if you're holding up the
00:28:57air but being able to touch and Ashley bike have a response we know that that's one of the most important things with Pat's and so we made capacitive touch sensors in various areas of the robot again thinking that these are gonna be some of the dimensions of matter
00:29:10the last one and will prove to be the most important as just the ability to be always on that if the moment you disconnect the phone he died is it kills all allusion of him being alive but if he's always on and doesn't have that Berrier it completely
00:29:23changes a sort of emotional connection you can build and so these are the sort of things that were direct drivers of the hardware that improved in factor which now we have a many your roadmap on how to actually utilize it and that's where advances in software technologies like
00:29:35deep warning and voice interface and so forth unlock things that now what you reading certain types of problems we're releasing Alexa integration in December okay which is going to be the first time you truly have finality wrapper around some of these very dry functional elements not only do
00:29:53you interact with technology in a command and control sort of way but for the first time there's an ability for this character to initiate interaction and get your attention to make eye contact and and do something personal with you in a way that you would never accept from
00:30:07smart tack in the home right now for one of our big questions is if the usage pattern of Alexa through a character is significantly different than the usage pattern of a normal access yeah I mean I bet it would be are you seeing that yet well we're sings
00:30:21usage patterns of just the character with no functional Alexx integration skyrocket above what a typical voice assistant us when we were working with Google and getting advice from someone else's on these other companies that have a lot of experts of voice assistance we thought that for like a
00:30:35thousand cars will be plenty for like three months or four months and now we had two hundred fifty just the first two weeks and engagement stand strong and so suddenly like when you look at voice assistance and have an average of maybe like one the two Koreas a
00:30:47day and we're at like ten to twelve even before we have a voice assistance built in it causes us to ask a lot of questions of how do you ever is the role of personality and character as a way to amplify not just the fun side but also
00:31:01utility side that actually shows a very different type of engagement and the things you asking how you interact with it it teaches something totally new about voice as a platform that's it and then that opens our eyes I think a lot of the partners we work with suddenly
00:31:14there's a lot of really interesting overlaps about what does this mean for the role of technology in the home in the workplace is deceptive how important emotional interfaces to make the functional elements utilized in a better way okay so if these are the little kind of baby waves
00:31:29lapping at the shore rate of like true robot in the home how do we get to mass adoption where this starts to become a reality and we all get to live like the jets and eventually we want to get the five hundred and thousand dollar robots because it
00:31:43opens up so much instinct technology the you can put in them but to get there you actually how to be very thoughtful about what's the level of capability that's required to make that justifiable and not just in the U. isolated kind of tacky sense but in a mass
00:31:56market sense because you wanted to really scale a lot of it that is going to become more electronic capabilities where you now have censors the used to cost a thousand dollars it now are ten dollars the used to be just impossible or prohibitively expensive and the other big
00:32:10one is manipulation right now we have limitations both on the cost side which comes in the mechanical complexity of manipulation as well as the software side on how do you robustly interact with unstructured environment we have a long way to go before we can actually you know stacked
00:32:24the dishes in the dishwasher and put away afterwards computing power will make up for a lot of hardware defects so if you have any under powered unreliable manipulator but lots of good computing power you can make that manipulator do amazing things columnist you have no power and about
00:32:45an epilator set right back now is the computing power become so much better in the sense the capabilities become so much better I think some of the demands on the manipulator back off a bit so you can get by with a less capable manipulator because you can learn
00:33:01to make up for its deficits different levers to pull basically yeah we're gonna see in the next wave of hardware is dedicated hardware this not just for abroad traditional competition but for very specialized A. I. applications like deep learning and vision classification these are sort of things that
00:33:18in the next wave of products in the next three to five years that's probably become pretty standard there's still a lot of information technology progress that needs to be made N. dancing thing is that some of that's being done by a lack send some of these voice assistance
00:33:31trying integrated with the rest of your life the tools to get created through that just like voice interface becoming credible enablers of these new types of technologies and I think we'll start seeing more education and healthcare and broader home utility and monitoring and so forth even when you
00:33:46stick to just informational or companionship on the healthcare side elderly companionship and helping aging place yeah it's an area is becoming more more kind of important and costly for a lot of communities if you really nailed the EQ piece it becomes not that hard to imagine where are
00:34:02your interface yeah when you come into a hotel or store or interface to the doctor as she becomes somehow driven through an indirect interface the robot which is pretty interesting and opens up a lot of functional opportunities as well and in the end we always thought of it
00:34:16is just an extension of computer science into the real world if you can understand what's around you when you have the ability to interact with it you turn into a digital problem there will be a catalyst that spawned the same thing on the physical side once the ability
00:34:29understanding fireman and interact with it catches up then everything becomes a matter of software making the interaction smarter and smarter thank you so much for joining us on a sixteen the podcast my pleasure thank you so much it's a pleasure

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