Visiting banks, airports or unknown offices to get a certain job done isn’t always a pleasant task. Most often, people are unaware as to where to go and who to approach, and quite often end up waiting pointlessly. However, imagine getting greeted and assisted by a friendly robot when you visit a certain place; a robot that recognizes you by your face since you last met, or even by your voice; a robot that asks you what you need, so the person in charge already knows what you are visiting for, hence saving you a lot of time while making the entire process pleasant. This is what Bengaluru based Invento Robotics aims to do with their Mitra robot.
Several viewers may remember Mitra 2, the robot that greeted Ivanka Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) 2017 at Hyderabad. While Mitra 2 is already being utilised in India in several prominent companies for visitor and employer engagement including most recently at Smart Works office premises, Invento Robotics has now unveiled Mitra 3 at CES 2019.
Mitra 3 humanoid aims for a more inter-personal and engaging experience for users for it can emote better with the integration of eyes into the robot, while also imitating eye movements and human gestures. The robot has three degrees of freedom (shoulder, elbow and finger movements) on each hand and one on the head, thus allowing Mitra 3 to welcome guests with a ‘namaste’ and also demonstrate other hand gestures like beckoning people.
“Customer engagement is awful and companies cannot afford human service employees any more. That leaves either no engagement or a poor kiosk. We want to provide a sophisticate, fun user experience to people visiting offices, malls and airports,” says Balaji Viswanathan, CEO of Invento Robotics.
Mitra 3 has a better display on the chest and comes with a better resolution as well as camera quality than its predecessor making the face recognition experience better. “At the core of it is multimodal conversation. We want the robot to converse as naturally as humans. To do that we use modern technologies including facial recognition, object recognition, speech recognition, natural language processing and indoor navigation. Together these give a superior human-like experience,” adds Mr Viswanathan.
Mitra 3 is also capable of seamless autonomous movement and obstacle detection, along with speech synthesis in regional Asian languages like Hindi, Tamil, and Sinhalese. “We see a heavy update in offices and retail. People crave for smart engagement and don’t always want to talk to a human. Our robots will enable people to interact and get relevant help whether you a visiting a mall, airport or an office lobby,” states Mr Viswanathan, when asked about the deployment of Mitra 3.
Invento Robotics aspires to achieve improved customer experience through automation of a variety of tasks at the lobby that both decreases the operations cost and time. “We are working on augmented human intelligence where there would be a human ready to take over remotely when the robot misses the question, then trains on the miss. This way the robot can be deployed almost anywhere a human is used and the human-robot combine will provide a superior experience just like a human+computer did the past 30 years. Imagine walking to a store, and the robot not only understands that you are looking to make a cheesecake, but also brings an expert chef remotely to quickly plan your ingredients and walk around the store efficiently to buy the items,” says Mr Viswanathan outlining the future roadmap of the company.