Visitors at Expo 2020 Dubai are almost certain to come across Opti, a pleasant orange robot who greets them with a smile.
There are 50 of the motorized mascots roaming the grounds of the world fair, greeting visitors and dispensing information, such as directions and jokes, to those who ask.
They have even gathered in large groups to conduct flashmob-style dance routines to Kanye West’s song Stronger on rare occasions.
Arash Masomzadeh, group director of robotics for Terminus Group, the Chinese artificial intelligence company that created Opti, described the robots’ design and level of interaction with the public as “ground-breaking.” The robots’ design and level of interaction with the public “have broken new ground,” according to Masomzadeh.
“This is the first time anything even somewhat similar to this has ever been attempted. Terminus took the 2D and 3D designs of Opti from Expo and gave them to life as a technological and AI-powered machine, which is now on display at the museum “Mr Masomzadeh expressed himself.
In the words of the organizers, “Expo 2020 will be remembered as the first international mega-event that allowed users to interact with different types of robots that perform different types of functions for daily activities.” The event will take place in Shanghai, China, from October 6 to October 8.
The robots are equipped with artificial intelligence, which allows them to become more in tune with their surroundings. After being stationed on a site for a period of time, they learn to tune out certain background noises and, after a period of time, they are able to zero in on certain persons who are speaking to them.
To be sure, Mr Masomzadeh informed us that the robots are not autonomous or self-learning, so we shouldn’t be too concerned about their taking over the world.
According to him, “all of this is done in the back-end, whereby we look at user engagement and then guide the robot on how to best route the user and how to best provide them with the answers that they’re truly searching for.”
“They are unable to perform much unless humans instruct them on how to do it.”
Robots on the Move
At the World Expo site, there are a total of 72 robots walking around, all of which are designed to improve the overall visitor’s experience at the fair.
Many security patrol robots are on the job, as well as 30 attendant or concierge-style inside robots, and two different types of delivery robots, one of which serves as a map kiosk for Expo guests and the other of which serves as a delivery platform robot that distributes free ice and drinks.
Mr Masomzadeh stated that Opti’s primary goal in life is to charm people.
“The major function of Opti is to greet guests and encourage them to participate in entertaining activities.
“In order to appeal to children, it is presented at a child’s level, and the actors perform various facial expressions for the children to observe and take photographs of them with.
“Opti is truly an introduction to robots for the general people, which is exactly what this Expo is aiming to achieve.”