Back in August, Ranchi man Ranjit Srivastava, 38, has developed an Indian version of ‘Sophia,’ a social humanoid robot developed by a Hong Kong-based company, named Rashmi which can speak Hindi, Bhojpuri, and Marathi as well as English.
A master of business administration (MBA), Srivastava, who has expertise in software development for more than 15 years, has developed the speaking robot in two years at a modest cost of Rs 50,000.
Rashmi uses linguistic interpretation (LI), artificial intelligence (AI), visual data and facial recognition systems. Along with the features like lip-syncing, it also gives facial, eye, lips, and eyebrow expressions and can move its neck.
The developer asserted it as the world’s first Hindi speaking realistic humanoid robot and also as India’s first lip-synching robot. “Rashmi functions under a specially designed software and linguistic interpretation system developed by me. The LI program analyses the feeling of the conversation while the AI program analyses the conversation to extract the response from the device,” Srivastava said.
Experts entitled it an incredible achievement. “I have not heard of any Hindi speaking robot in India. Though I have not seen the robot, it is incredible if it was developed,” said Dr. Somnath Chattopadhyaya, associate professor of IIT-Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, who is also the dean of innovation and incubation.
“It will take one month more to give it the complete shape of a human. Head and body have been developed and they are functioning properly. The process is on to add hands and legs to it,” Srivastava said. “Humanoid robot is the need of future generations. It can work as bank receptionist, helper, a friend of lonely people and others,” he claimed.
Ask the robot anything, it will reply in the same manner. If the robot is told you are ugly, it replies…go to hell. Say you are beautiful, it will reply thank you. “It can talk for hours with a person and it recognizes the person after few meetings due to cameras fitted in its eyes,” Srivastava said.
‘Sophia’ which is developed by Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong-based company, inspired Shrivastava to take up the speaking robot challenge, “When I saw it and its functions, I thought it could be developed and decided to develop a Hindi speaking robot in July 2016,” said Srivastava. He has developed much software for various departments of the state government. Many of his software received national recognition.