NTU debuts robots Nadine and Edgar: 5 other impressive Singapore robots

Nadine (left) and Edgar were the two new robots unveiled by NTU.
Nadine (left) and Edgar were the two new robots unveiled by NTU.PHOTOS: THE BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - The Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Institute for Media Innovation has unveiled its latest star inventions - a pair of robots.

 

Nadine is a female humanoid companion with a personality, while Edgar - made entirely in NTU - is an autonomous service robot.

But the duo are not the only robotic innovations that Singapore has produced.

Here's a look at a few others.

1. Robocoach


Minister for Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim (in red, seated) joining seniors in taking cues from Robocoach. PHOTO: IDA

Also known as: Fitness coach for seniors

The robot, unveiled in October 2015, uses motion-sensor technology to assist the elderly in doing their exercise routines correctly.

Originally developed by students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, the robot has been deployed to at least one senior activity centre, and will eventually be placed in other centres across the island.

Robocoach is capable of engaging users in basic conversation and can respond to voice commands or questions.

2. OBYS Robot


Three of the four team members, (from left) Maksim Kolin, Khor Jie Hao and Hansen Goh, with their winning OBYS Robot prototype. PHOTO: ST FILE

Also known as: Waiter with "super-vision"

Billed as being "affordable, user-friendly and multi-functional", it was created by four robot enthusiasts and won first prize in a competition organised by ST Electronics and Spring Singapore in October this year.

OBYS is best deployed as a waiter in restaurants and cafes - it is equipped with an "electronic eye" to detect obstructions 30m ahead (with a horizontal field of view of 270 degrees).

Customers can make their orders via an iPad attached to its head, while food and drinks are served on a tray above it.

3. Deep-sea robots


Smart's deep-sea research crew members displaying their stingray and octopus robots. PHOTO: ST FILE

Also known as: Robo-octopus or robo-stingray

The Straits Times reported in March this year on plans by the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology's (Smart) to develop a range of deep-sea robots to provide constant surveillance of the seas at low cost and with minimal use of energy.

For instance, a "stingray" prototype that its scientists developed cost just $1,000 and can collect data on its surroundings, such as water temperature, salinity and dissolved oxygen.

Singapore's Tropical Marine Science Institute had previously used the robots to gather data on harmful algae blooms that plague local fish farmers.

Smart also came up with an octopus-inspired robot that is fast enough to follow dolphins for quick observation or even inspect thermal vents in the mid-ocean ridges.

4. Nash


NTU Associate Professor Xie Ming demonstrating Nash's capabilities. PHOTO: ST FILE

Also known as: The smart one

Standing at 1.8m and weighing 80kg, Singapore's first humanoid-sized robot was touted as one of the world's smartest when it was unveiled in October 2011.

NTU scientists constructed Nash using lightweight aluminium and hardy plastics, and it took five years and a six-figure sum to build it.

The prediction then was that it would become commercially available within the next five years, with a price tag of about $200,000.

Nash, which stands for NTU Advance Smart Humanoid, can climb stairs, respond to simple voice commands and make decisions based on the information it gathers. It also has a 500-word vocabulary that helps it recognise objects such as apples and cups.

It can also lift up to 40kg on its back and 10kg in each hand.

5. Olivia


Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong interacting with Olivia at the official opening of Fusionopolis Two on Oct 19. PHOTO: ST FILE

Also known as: Super receptionist

A robot receptionist with the ability to hold a decent conversation and direct visitors to the right place in a building.

Olivia, which debuted in 2010, was designed by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research or A*Star.

She can converse in three languages - English, Mandarin and Malay - and has eight microphones around her head to help detect where the person speaking to her is standing.

Olivia can also track multiple people, identify them by the colour of their clothes and monitor visitors' eyes and lips so she knows when they are talking to her so as to "keep her mouth shut".