On Thursday, July 17th, 2014 two robots arrived at the Edmonton International Airport (EIA) on their way to K-Days. For an hour FURO-D and her younger more versatile sister, FURO-S, demonstrated their capabilities to the media and EIA’s patrons.
They are part of Synced Media Inc. interest in bringing the latest technology in interactive motion and touch technology to Edmonton and area. The robots will demonstrate their capabilities during K-Days at Northlands at the Edmonton EXPO Centre, Hall B from noon to 11PM.
Synced Media’s CEO Ambit Sagoo informed the media that this was the first time the robots had visited Edmonton and explained what the robots were capable of doing. Currently Brazil has over a hundred robots serving in restaurants, malls, and airports. The robots have the capability of not only informing individuals where things are located within an airport, but can also take you to the place of interest. Having been in a number of airports it would be nice to have an escort to the nearest restroom or Timmy’s when one gets off a plane.
Another unique feature of the robots is the ability to speak in a vast variety of languages. The robots can take your picture or provide a receipt.
It may not be too long before passengers at EIA may be able to talk to a FURO Kiosk that will be able to scoot around showing you what you need to know. Some of the current applications are already catching on. Many restaurants in France, China, and Japan are already using them to take orders and provide an opportunity to pay by credit or debit card. Using its touch screen you make your order and after your food arrives you pay using your card and receive a printed receipt.
The robots are built by a Korean company Future Robot and distributed, in Canada, by the Edmonton based company, Synced Media Inc.
The unique features include the ability to provide gestures and emotional responses. Frowning brought a horrifying look on the robot’s facial display and its vocal responses were appropriate to the type of question asked.
It did not take long for patrons to quickly approach the robots and begin to interact with both robots. A little girl of about 3 years was drawn to FURO-D and quickly began to talk to the robot.
These robots reminded this reporter of the introduction of the first bag cell phones and how in a few years they were replaced by our current smart-phones. Given the same period of time for development it is not hard to see that families could, in the not too far future, find robots doing their housework and cooking meals. That is once they are able to reduce the current price of $30,000 to $60,000 per unit to a more affordable level.