Finally, a ‘Star Wars’ Stormtrooper that you can control

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UBTECH Robotics introduces the first Star Wars First Order Stromtrooper (center) robot in the Philippines. From left: Alpha1 Pro, Jimu, Stormtrooper, and Jimu robots. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — Sophia, the robot manufactured by Hong Kong-based robotics lab Hanson, was granted citizenship by Saudi Arabia on Oct. 2017, becoming the first robot to be afforded this “privilege.” The humanoid robot’s quick wit (she jokes about Elon Musk’s anti-A.I. warnings) and unabashed comments (she said that the audience, a group full of Saudi Arabian men, were “rich and powerful”) have amused A.I. fans and tech enthusiasts alike.

Humanoid robots only used to be imaginative concepts, but now they’ve become more than science fiction characters.

UBTECH Robotics, a startup robotics company based in China, introduces the "Star Wars" First Order Stromtrooper robot in the Philippines, the first of its kind in the country, and offered in time for the franchise’s release of the “The Last Jedi.” 

CNN-3588-EDIT.jpg The Stormtrooper robot features Augmented Reality (AR) app modes, where the user can command verbal orders by using the app that is connected to the robot. It also has sentry patrolling capabilities, making it useful as guard should users want to detect intruders. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

“Our Stormtrooper has the capability to recognize faces … it can recognize up to four family members or four users,” says Jessel Fesarit, product manager of Banbros Commercial, the distributor of UBTECH robots in the country.

Besides facial recognition, the Stormtrooper robot also features Augmented Reality (AR) app modes, where the user can command verbal orders by using the app that is connected to the robot. It also has sentry patrolling capabilities, making it useful as guard should users want to detect intruders.

Meron din siyang emotion. As I've said a while ago, it can recognize up to three to four persons, so if ‘yung narecognize niyang tao, nakita niya na sad, he will turn the LED light … into something, like for example, red ... If it's happy, it will turn into yellow,” adds Fesarit.

CNN-3560.jpg The Alpha1 Pro, another humanoid robot by UBTECH, can be programmed to tell stories to children and to do push ups, among others. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

Michael Bangayan, president of Banbros Commercial, says that humanoid robots have typically been used for education, specifically in robotics courses. The Stormtrooper robot, together with another humanoid robot called the Alpha1 Pro (it can be programmed to tell stories to children and to do push ups, among others), are the first humanoid products from UBTECH that will be offered in Philippine stores.

“I think it would be unfair for our users if it's exclusively for the education market. But I'd also like to be able to bring the benefits for a robot even if the children do not have the curriculum in their schools yet. What better way to give them that benefit, if you don't sell them at retail?” he says.

Even when Banbros and UBTECH are releasing it at retail stores, Bangayan says that most of the inquiries about their robots still come from the education sector. He adds that for children who want to learn to code and program robots, UBTECH’s Jimu robots are most advisable to play and interact with, as these robots were specifically built for beginners who want to develop their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills.

CNN-3509.jpg UBTECH’s Jimu robots were specifically built for beginners who want to develop their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills, and are, therefore, most advisable for those who want to learn to code and program robots. Photo by KENNETH ABALLA

“The Jimu robots are assembly robots. They come in a box and broken down to different parts ... There's a manual that teaches the kids and adults alike, and that basically teaches the basics for programming or coding,” he explains.

When asked about the future of humanoid robots being manufactured globally, Bangayan says, “I believe that there are more advanced robots that are being developed — whether it be for home, for elderly, to assist the elderly. That age will be coming. It's just a matter of time.”

 

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The Stormtrooper robot is priced at ₱24,999. It will be available on Dec. 15, 2017 at Astroplus, Astrovision, and PC Worx.