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A smart bunch of students from Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT), Pune have developed ‘Chintu‘ — A Robot Companion powered by IBM Watson Technology.

Chintu, the cognitive assistant robot is designed to assist the senior citizens in conducting everyday tasks such as reading the newspaper/book, provide mood based entertainment services for song and dance and generate reminders on their daily medication.

Chintu is two feet (58-cm) tall and about five kilos in weight, made of a bunch of sensors and cameras.

While the robot came from French firm, Aldebaran Robotics (now SoftBank Robotics), the students used APIs of IBM Watson, along with the IBM Bluemix Cloud platform to create the ‘brains’ or the actual intelligence behind the robot.

Notably, MIT Pune had received a grant of Rs 10 lakh last year from IBM to developed the robot under cognitive assistant, IBM Watson.

Chintu can move his hands and read books to an audience. “Drawing from Watson’s domain knowledge, Chintu will assist senior citizens in conducting everyday tasks such as reading the newspaper/book and generate reminders on their daily medication,” Professor and Head of Computer Engineering Department at MIT Pune, Vrushali Kulkarni, told PTI

Students of MIT, Pune working on Project Chintu — (L-R) Krishnamohan Manmohan, Astitva Shah, Sanketh Gupta Chellu, Rishav Dasgupta and Professor Vrushali Kulkarni

Students at MIT have been working on Project Chintu for the past few months. While ‘Chintu’ is still a few years from becoming mainstream, the students will continue to work on him to add functionalities. “This has also opened up a new and exciting research avenue for our students. Robotics, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing are interesting fields of research today and our students are getting first-hand experience of working in these fields,” added Kulkarni.

Mezjan Dallas, University Relations Leader at IBM India said the project is a great example of co-creation. “You put great technology in the hands of bright and enthusiastic students, you give them freedom and a fun element and India’s next generation of engineers start to do magical things,” he said.

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