Chintu, IBM, MIT,
Credits: Twitter

An INR 1 million grant from IBM to MIT Pune last year led to the conception of Chintu, a 2 feet tall robot that can remind you to take your medicine as easily as it can belt off a couple of dance move from Shahrukh Khan. The bot weights around 5 KG and can also do stuff like engaging you in casual conversation when you are bored, or even read a book to you.

This fantastic little robot has been made possible courtesy of final year computer engineering students at the Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) in Pune. The students sourced the robot from French firm, Aldeberan and then deployed a slew of APIs from IBM’s Watson platform to give it its brains. With financial assistance from the IBM, the students manages to put Chintu together in merely 8 weeks!

The robot has been aimed at the senior citizens, but I really see no reason preventing it from becoming a lot more. It can read, it can dance, it can talk, it can remind them to take their medicines, it can use a tone analyzer API to gauge their mood…..and a lot more. Considering all these capabilities, I wouldn’t be surprised if it managed to set itself up as a home assistant as well.

After all, we already have a Chintu in practically every third or fourth house in India, considering how common the name is —  and as such, another can’t hurt.

Speaking on the topic, Mezjan Dallas, University Relations Leader of IBM India said:

The future of innovation will be co-creation and that is what this is. This is deep research in the hands of the students who learnt quickly and put this together in just eight weeks.

The MIT Pune students are currently working upon bringing further improvements to Chintu and reducing its costs so as to make it a consumer feasible product. With some luck and a lot of hard work, the next time we hear our neighbor yell “Chintu”, it will be to ask him to read the newspaper.

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