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‘Google-fied’ robot, new local inventions highlight S&T Week


Ever seen a humanoid robot that responds to human touch and answers your questions? How about a device which used wireless connection to measure various weather data? These and more local inventions took the spotlight on the first day of the weeklong-celebration of National Science and Technology Week (NSTW) 2017 held at the World Trade Center.

More than a hundred booths from government sector, private companies, academe, non-government organizations and other institutions gathered to showcase their own scientific innovations, each with the goal of bringing the fruits of research and development closer to the public.

One of the inventions that attracted the attendees, comprised mostly of students, was Naomi, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered concierge robot.

Naomi, or Nao for short, is a cognitive robot manufactured by Softbank Group Corp., a Japanese multinational telecommunications and Internet corporation, and showcased by International Business Machines IBM, the largest computer company in the world based in America.

Leslie Hans Lagdameo, marketing specialist for IBM Philippines, said that Naomi can respond to “almost any questions” as if bringing Google into life.

“Naomi is integrated with an application connected to the web and it can process questions that you ask from it.

Pwede siyang mag-free demo mode, meaning may basic functions siya na nakaprogram sa kanya like pwede siyang bumati ‘Welcome to National Science and Technology Week,’ pwede rin siyang sumagot ng mga questions – almost anything kaya niyang sagutin,” Lagdameo said.

Naomi also responds to human touch. If one touches her head, she would giggle, she can stand up from a sitting position and can even dance.

“You can command her to do basic tasks such as dancing, singing, sitting and standing up,” Lagdameo said.

He added that Naomi and her likes are mostly used by hotels where they are placed at the front desk to inform guests of basic utilities.

“So ini-inform niya ‘yung mga guests kung nasaan ang pinakamalapit na bathroom, function room, tourist spot, restaurant, bar. Dahil kumakabit siya sa internet, pina-process niya lahat ‘yun at ikukwento niya sa ‘yo,” he explained.

“Ipaghalo mo na si Google, si Siri in a humanoid form. ‘Yun si Naomi. Nandun ang potential niya,” he added.

Lagdameo also revealed that Naomi can learn new knowledge and can work even without Internet connection as all of the things she learned are being stored in a Cloud-based account.

Axis Knee System
Also featured on the first day of the NSTW 2017 was the Axis Knee System, which was funded by the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DoST-PCHRD) and developed by Orthopedic International, Inc.

DoST-PCHRD executive director Jaime Montoya said that Axis Knee is an innovative total knee replacement system that guides the surgeon during a procedure to achieve correct mechanical axis alignment.

In a knee replacement procedure, surgeon cuts off damaged cartilage and bone from the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee and replaces them with artificial components made of metal and plastic, the DoST said.

It added that the reason for the high cost of knee replacement procedure in the country is that implants are all imported from Europe and United States. Aside from that, orthopedic doctors have to take specialized training overseas for one year to do the procedure.

With the development and commercialization of Axis Knee Replacement System, the cost of knee replacement procedure in the country can be reduced drastically because the knee implants are now made locally by the Orthopedic International Inc.