Rogun the robot learns to recognise faces

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June 18, 2007 Around-the-home robot servants are almost starting to become practical - we've had the robot PA, the robot vacuum and the robot beer fridge, now meet Rogun - a robot babysitter and security guard with the fascinating ability to recognise familiar faces. The diminutive humanoid will happily wander around playing with the kids, broadcasting video of them wirelessly to the net so you can see what they're up to while you're at work. He'll also act as a wireless internet or videophone terminal, and keep watch when nobody's home, calling your mobile phone if there's a stranger in the house.

Korea's KornTech recently announced the arrival of Rogun, a 1-metre tall humanoid robot that walks around on 2 feet and is intended for use as a nanny/security guard. Using built-in camera eyes and some very nifty facial recognition software, Rogun is able to learn to recognise his immediate family and friends.

The robot contains a compact PC with a wireless Internet connection and a seven-inch LCD screen on his chest - which lets him be used as a wandering Web terminal or mobile media player for the kids. He can also be used as a wireless telephone or videophone.

It's the combination of his skills that will make Rogun most practical - he can be set to follow the kids around all day while you're at work, wirelessly webcasting what they're doing so you can keep tabs on them from the office. And if a stranger enters your house while nobody else is around, he'll make an emergency call to your mobile phone so you can decide what to do about it.

Rogun is the culmination of only three years' worth of Korean bipedal robot research, and although prototypes have been very expensive to produce, KornTech expects that a mass-produced Rogun will reach a predicted price point of around US$5000.

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