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Smart Robots Poised to Make Home Life Easy for the Elderly

Fudan University has invented an intelligent robot with a child-like ability to learn new things by following human voice commands.

The robot, which is on display at the ongoing Shanghai International Industry Fair, is a man-shaped multi-functional machine with a small electronic screen "face," a big square screen in the "chest" and two big wheels as "feet."

"It is expected to become a good household mate for ordinary families, especially the elderly, in the future," said Jin Cheng, one of the researchers.

The most critical part inside the nearly one-meter high robot is a voice receiving and recognition system, which enables the robot to memorize commands.

For instance, people can take the robot into the kitchen and tell it "here's the kitchen," and familiarize it with other rooms.

The robot remembers the locations and formulates an electronic map it can use to navigate.

When people utter a command such as "go to the kitchen," the robot will be able to search its memory and move to the destination, Fudan researchers said.

It can also function as an interactive television that allows people to select TV programs by voice orders.

At the fair site, when demonstrators asked the robot to "tell us something about the 17th Party Congress," video about President Hu Jintao delivering speech on the latest Party congress immediately appeared on the robot's chest screen.

Also at the fair, Jiao Tong University showcased their latest high-definition digital mobile TV system - a new technology that enables passengers on trains to watch high-quality real-time news and TV programs.

Relying on existing signal sending facilities along railways, the system managed to solve signal-receiving problems on vehicles moving at a high speed, according to Li Zhijian, a program researcher with Jiao Tong.

Preliminary tests have proved successful on the city's maglev trains which have a speed of 430 kilometers per hour.

It is expected to be used on high-speed trains throughout the country, researchers said.

(Shanghai Daily November 8, 2007)

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