Central regions | Technology & innovation

Russian television may have its first robotic TV show star

19 Dec '13
“Tuma Urman,” Russia’s first robotic TV anchor, has been ‘interviewed’ at a recent presentation in Moscow. The developers (not yet named) hope to ‘teach’ the machine to interview TV program guests all on its own, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

The robot is expected to replace Anna Urmantseva, the host of a popular Russian science-focused TV show called “Brain Storm.”

“Plans are to program it to chat with experts and ask them questions. At inception, it won’t be its own ‘intelligence’ but rather myself talking via Skype; however, the machine will be mimicking emotions and turn in a desired direction,” Ms. Urmantseva said.

So far, “Tuma Urman” has been enabled to voice some phrases recorded for it and is still controlled from a standard laptop and a joystick. Its ‘head’ has 17 servo drives that give the machine its ‘emotions’, including fear, astonishment, contempt, etc.

During the presentation earlier this week the new ‘TV star’ showed some signs of being ‘whimsical’ when it gave out unexpected sounds. “That was a surprise to me; I guess the machine behaves like that when the servo drives get overheated and the system signals its need for a break,” supposed Igor Ovcharenko, the technical director of the “Brain Storm” TV show.

After the presentation the TV people promised to contact the yet-unspecified developers of the robot for troubleshooting.
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