Roboy & Lucy with Rafael Hostettler

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In this episode, I am talking to Rafael Hostettler. He’s the guardian and project lead of Roboy – a very exciting robotics project of Devanthro GmbH. Late last year, they’ve also kickstarted and released a children’s book called Roboy & Lucy.

Rafael is Roboy’s legal guardian and project lead. He has an Master in Computational Science and Engineering from ETH Zurich, Switzerland and works towards his PhD at the robotics and embedded systems lab at the Technical University of Munich. He’s a true robotics enthusiast and played a huge role in the history and development of Roboy. 

Roboy is an advanced humanoid robot and research project that was originally developed at the AI Lab of the University of Zurich. Right after its unveiling, Rafael adopted the robot and moved with it to Munich. As already mentioned, Roboy is all about humanoid robotic design – the human body is the blueprint. This means Roboy has a skeleton and muscles for example – and uses a lot of AI in each of the sub-systems of course. 

We’ll definitely chat about Roboy a lot during the interview, but the focus is actually on a children’s book called Roboy & Lucy that Rafael helped to kickstarted and fulfill in 2019. The book is now available in both English and German and also in digital and print format. The book teaches about friendship, curiosity, and the use of technology for a good purpose. 

The key characters are 

  • Roboy, a 7 year old humanoid robot
  • Lucy, a 8 year old curious girl and
  • Checker, a clumsy but smart drone

Together, they are trying to help Eric, a newly moved in neighbor on the Autism Spectrum to recognize emotions. The tool they’ll discover is based on a real invention: the so-called Superhero Glasses by CATALIN Voss from Stanford University. It’s a Google Glass project that uses the built-in camera and AI to detect and visualise the emotions of people. 

You should definitely take a look at Roboy and then dive into the many cool resources linked to around Roboy & Lucy as well as the superhero glasses – you can find all these info, images and links at kidslab.dev.

Shownotes

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