While some of the tech-savvy people across the globe have invested in this next-gen technology, most shy away — either because they do not understand its utility or because of its extravagant cost.
Purushothaman and his team at EPR LABs is all set to change this idea with the launch of their new robot — Prince. The one-and-a-halffoot tall robot, designed to mimic the appearance of penguins, is a personal assistant and companion you can bring home with ease. What does Prince do? Prince is the real-life version of ‘Cookie’ from the popular British Science-fiction show Black Mirror’s White Christmas episode.
Well... maybe not exactly, but it’s close enough. Instead of a cloned conscience, the robot uses Artificial Intelligence to help you run the electrical appliances in your house. Switching on and off the lights, fans and ACs in your home, preheating your ovens and taking care of your garden sprinklers are just a few of the things that these robots can do.
“Many people shy away from personal robots because they don’t see any real-life utility for them in their lives. You could argue that they are toys that you invest in, just like you buy your video games and other tech. But, we chose to tweak robots in a way that met these demands. Prince is an interactive companion you can operate with verbal commands or an app.
You can ask questions about anything in the world and it will fetch you the answers from the internet. You can access your e-mails and messages through it. It essentially becomes a more fun version of a computer,” says Purushothaman, founder and CEO of EPR LABs.
However, that’s not all. “Apart from this function, you can connect Prince to any of your electronic home appliances using a WiFi connection. We install the WiFi set up in your regular appliances personally for this. You simply feed a script to the robot, detailing the time and nature of a task that has to be executed, through the app.
You can also use it as a personal assistant to manage your meetings and correspondence, take care of your home’s security, take care of garden management and so on,” he adds. Do you need to have advanced knowledge in programming to use this? “No,” says Purushothaman emphatically.
“Any new technology seems confusing at first — be it smartphones, WhatsApp or Prince. But once you learn how the features work, using the robot is as easy as using WhatsApp,” he explains.
Prince is manufactured at the company’s offices in Guindy and Kodambakam and is set for launch in the market through a kickstarter platform by the end of next week. Over 20 of the robots are already in use across the city on a pilot phase.
“Internationally available robots are priced anywhere around Rs 75,000 and above. But our robots cost a meagre Rs 15,000. They come with or without battery. The battery provides an eight hour back up, one of the best in the world, and is priced a little higher. We hope these affordable versions will make Indians invest more on personal robots soon,” he signs off hopefully.