QRIO is a humanoid robot, equipped with the latest in advanced recognition, motional control communications, information technology, and artificial intelligence. Its programming allows it to protect itself should it lose balance, and should it fall, it checks front and back, left and right, before getting up without any assistance. It can distinguish individual faces and voices, and can learn and memorize new words. Sony explains that QRIO can also communicate with people based on internal judgments, and express feelings through movements, conversations, and the use of a lighting system.
Looking like child astronauts, they can balance and dance with motor control so smooth and fluid as to make grown men weep. In other respects, QRIO is a little disappointing. His walking marks an improvement in robot technology, but it is still much more of a shuffle than a stride. There are people doing more impressive robot control.
Intelligent servo actuators enable Qrio to walk on two feet, dance, climb and descend stairs, not fall over when shoved, and even pick itself up when it takes a tumble. Using twin CCD (charge coupled device) cameras, it can also recognize and identify faces. Equipped with seven microphones and a speaker, Qrio is able to identify voices, talk, sing, and understand about 20,000 words. It can also exhibit some limited emotional responses, according to Sony.
Sony calls Qrio, which was formerly called the SDR-4X II (SDR means Sony Dream Robot), a technical prototype toward the development of soccer-playing robots that will challenge humans in a match around 2050. For the moment, however, children aged 5-18 will meet Qrio and use digital cameras and other equipment and make and edit videos under the instruction of Sony representatives and local teachers, according to a Sony spokesperson.
QRIO can walk on two feet and dance dynamically. To make its arms and legs strong, and yet able to move fluidly, it was necessary to develop an entirely new joint actuator. The realization of this Intelligent Servo Actuator (ISA) made it possible to build a robot with compact body design that could move its body smoothly and dynamically.
QRIO moves with "dynamic walking". "Static walking" means the robot keeps its center of gravity within the zone of stability -- when the robot is standing on one foot, its center of gravity falls within the sole of that foot, and when it is standing on two feet it falls within a multi-sided shape created by those two feet -- causing it to walk relatively slowly. In "dynamic walking", on the other hand, the center of gravity is not limited to the zone of stability -- in fact it often moves outside of it as the robot walks. People move using "dynamic walking".
It is equipped with technology that uses a wide range of sensors to detect changes in the walking surface and respond accordingly. QRIO determines the condition of the walking surface using four pressure sensors in the sole of each foot to gather data on the amount of force being received from the walking surface.
If pushed by someone, QRIO will take a step in the direction it was pushed to keep from falling over. The control system senses that it has been pushed through the pressure sensors in the soles of its feet and its position sensors, and acts to maintain stability. It can detect an outside force acting on it from front, back, right or left. When QRIO determines that its actions will not prevent a fall, it instinctively sticks out its arms, swivels its hips, and assumes an impact position. At the same time, the control system instantaneously commands the servos in the joint actuators to relax slightly. In this way it lessens the shock of the fall, enabling it to survive unscathed.
QRIO knows your face. It's equipped with a camera and the ability to analyze the images it sees. It detects faces and identifies who they are. It can even learn the faces of people it just met.
QRIO knows your voice. It can determine who is speaking by analyzing the sounds it hears with its built-in microphones. Call to it, and if it knows you, it will notice you and respond. If it doesn't know you but mistakenly thinks it does, you can teach it your voice and it will remember you.
QRIO was designed to understand spoken words. The seven microphones in its head identify a person's voice and the direction from which it is speaking, and even pick out the words it says. QRIO can even understand the voices of unidentified speakers. It knows tens of thousands of words already, but can also learn new ones.
QRIO can have an entertaining conversation with you. It analyzes the words you speak using its voice recognition technology, and responds in its own words. It will ask what sort of things you like and remember them, getting to know you better all the time. Since it uses those memories in future conversations with you, the more information it has the more full and natural a conversation you can enjoy.
If you heard QRIO sing a song, would you be surprised? Since we placed great importance on its entertainment value, QRIO can also sing to you in vibrato! We developed a fundamental technology, searching for a clear, simple and easily understandable voice.
QRIO's head is equipped with two cameras. Just like a human, through a detailed comparison of the right and left images (stereoscopic vision) it determines the distance to the object in view. It is also equipped with seven microphones, so that by analyzing the sound waves they detect, it can calculate the direction of the sound it hears.
In order for QRIO to detect surface obstacles, it must be able to perceive its environment in three dimensions. While turning its head, it uses its stereoscopic vision to calculate the distance to objects; it then analyzes the data to determine whether the objects it sees are part of the floor or an obstacle to be avoided.
QRIO is equipped with wireless networking equipment, and can connect to your home wireless network out of the box.
Specialized sensors in QRIO's joints sense the moment they close on a person's finger and go slack.
We made QRIO as quiet as possible when it moves to help it fit in pleasantly in a home. Its motors and gears turn when it walks or moves, but the vibration-resistant frame dampens the noise. You'll be amazed to see it move so silently.
QRIO draws on twelve high voltage, high capacity, and high energy density battery cells that utilize Sony's proprietary lithium ion battery technology to run for over an hour at a time.