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MIT Pune, IBM unveil robot ‘Chintu’

Source | The Economic Times : By Priyanka Sangani

PUNE: Imagine a senior citizen assistant, who can help with both routine tasks, like reminding them to take their medicine on time, to being there for a casual conversation when they get lonely.

If they are really bored, the assistant could entertain them by dancing to ‘Gangnam Style’, or perhaps replicate Shahrukh Khan’s signature moves if that’s more their style.

Now, imagine this assistant to be all of 58-cm tall and about five kilos in weight, made of a bunch of sensors and cameras. Meet Chintu, the cognitive assistant that’s been built by the final year computer engineering students at the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) in Pune.

While the robot came from French firm, Aldeberan (now SoftBank Robotics), the students used APIs from IBM’s cognitive platform Watson, along with the IBM Bluemix Cloud platform to create the ‘brains’ or the actual intelligence behind the robot.

Chintu already has capabilities like being able to read text from a sheet of paper, to being able to sense the mood of the person using a Tone Analyser API and responding to them accordingly, apart from more routine tasks like reminders and alarms.

The robot is the result of IBM’s global Shared University Research grant programme, under which the team at MIT received a grant of Rs 10 lakh to work on this project.

Mezjan Dallas, University Relations Leader of IBM India said that this was in line with the company wanting to advance technology in areas that it was interested in, and making learning a fun process for students.

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