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Home Business Thai robot developer Obodroid arrives – along with servants of the future

Thai robot developer Obodroid arrives – along with servants of the future

Introducing KAITOMM, SR1, PINTO and MIRROR, with tasks in future lifestyles, healthcare, and security

A recent seminar in Bangkok has given a surprising glimpse of how closely a particular aspect of our personal lives will, in the very near future, resemble what was, just a short while ago, merely science fiction: living with robots.

The seminar – in fact entitled “Living with Robots” – launched a new Thai company, Obodroid Corporation Ltd. Moreover, to demonstrate the strides that have been made in robotics, the event introduced a group of robots that are designed to enhance the quality of human life and boost sustainability.

In the first instance, they will serve in residential projects, including those of the leading property developer, Magnolia Quality Development Corporation (MQDC).

Obodroid’s Chief Executive Polnut Chalermwan explained that his company developed service robots and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to provide an improved and sustainable quality of life, in partnership with MQDC.

The robots will operate in residential properties and other business segments, extending to general services, with the aim of raising the quality of life for residents and the general public.

The debut seminar showcased KAITOMM, a companion-cum-personal assistant robot, and SR1, a security robot. Obodroid has also jointly developed PINTO, a delivery robot linking medical personnel and hospital patients, and MIRROR, a tablet to help medical teams and to reduce the risks of exposure to COVID-19 in hospitals across Thailand.

“Obodroid is focused on developing service robots and AI technology to serve the people of Thailand by providing an enhanced and sustainable quality of life,” Polnut said.

“Robots focused on quality of life can provide security at residences, for example, and interact naturally and efficiently with users. Obodroid unites Thailand’s leading engineers in robotics and AI, and is focused on research and development for service robots with functions such as security, reception, advertising, delivery, companionship and personal assistance.” 

Obodroid’s Chief Technology Officer, Mahisorn Wongphati, said that KAITOMM was a companion-cum-personal assistant robot that made life easier for people of all ages, connecting them quickly and easily with “everything on the planet”. The robot understands commands and can converse with users in Thai and English. It can link with home automation to control lights and electrical equipment, and can also connect with medical devices to measure vital signs to help maintain its user’s health. A built-in camera can be used for security and video calls, and its other functions include reminders, alarms, prayers, and weather checks. KAITOMM is suitable for home use as an assistant caregiver for users of all ages.

SR1 is a security robot that can follow a set route using an auto-navigation system. It carries a 360-degree camera to collect information, images, and sounds, and has artificial intelligence (AI) to identify items such as faces, objects, animals, or weapons, and can send swift alerts to security staff.

An emergency call function lets residents or bystanders request instantaneous emergency help. SRI is suitable for maintaining security at residences, department stores, and other large spaces.

Mahisorn said Obodroid’s team was proud and honored to have worked with the Faculty of Engineering of Chulalongkorn University (MI Workspace) to produce PINTO, a prototype quarantine delivery robot that can be controlled remotely, and MIRROR, a mini robot tablet to help patients communicate with medical staff or request assistance without having to touch buttons.

This technology reduces the risk of patients spreading COVID-19, helps to keep surfaces free from pathogens, and assists doctors and nurses, who are able to use the robot and tablet immediately because they are independent of other systems and can be installed without additional tools or structures. The robot and tablet have been distributed to hospitals in every region of Thailand.

The Chief Advisor of FutureTales Lab by MQDC, Karndee Leopairote, revealed the property developer’s close interest in this aspect of our near future. FutureTales Lab, which he described as a “futurology center”, has gathered valuable data about the future of robotics.

The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) has forecast exponential growth of 31% for the robotics industry, providing 48 million devices by 2021.

Service robots will be the leading segment, becoming part of everyday life and disrupting many established industries, unless they adjust. 

Karndee says Thailand will lead ASEAN in robotics by welcoming the “robotic economy”. IFR data shows that Asia is the world’s leading market for robotics, accounting for more than 60 per cent of global demand.

Thailand’s industrial-robot market is forecast to expand by 19 per cent in 2021, the fastest growth in ASEAN and the fourth highest globally, after Brazil (33 per cent), India (26 per cent), and China (22 per cent).

“Society will open up to accept the use of robots as part of everyday life, rather than just a symbol of modernity. The industry has been accelerated by the COVID-19 epidemic and more and more people are open to using robots to enhance hygiene and maintain social distance,” he said.

“A case study from China’s Huazhu Hotels Group, which has more than 5,700 branches in China, found that robots providing services such as giving information or serving food made guests more confident during the epidemic.”

“Reflecting the positive image of this technology in daily life, robots will inevitably become a part of both society and the ‘new normal’. While there are concerns that robots will compete for jobs, the robot industry – on the contrary – will create employment. In the long term, robots will become closer to humans, helping in the service sector in areas like healthcare and eldercare, and enhancing the value of actual human services,” Karndee said.

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