IDF 2014: Intel Reveals Jimmy, The Robot That Can Be Programmed With Apps

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Another week – another robot. This time Intel offers its “21 century” robot, codenamed Jimmy

Chip giant Intel has revealed its open source robot codenamed Jimmy at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

It comes one week after the Japanese telecommunications firm Softbank said it would begin selling its ‘emotional’ robot, known as Pepper, in American shops from next year.

Common as Smartphones

The 21st century Jimmy robot was revealed by Intel futurist, Brian David Johnson at the IDF show. He wanted to create the smartphone equivalent of a robot, with a machine that is low power, that required no heavy computing power (one version reportedly an Intel Core i5 processor), and is “fiercely social” and highly customisable.

JimmyTo this end, he created a small robot called Jimmy. According to VentureBeat, he teamed up with artist Sandy Winkelman, to make Jimmy appear non threatening. A short YouTube video of Jimmy in action can be found here.

“I wondered if we could build one that is low-power, mobile, fiercely social, and you can program using apps,” Johnson reportedly said. “What would those robots be like? We have an amazing number of robots now. Robots will be as common as smartphones and laptops.”

Johnson has built Jimmy to be open source after he released the design files for the robot. The exoskeleton can be purchased or even printed with a 3D printer.

Jimmy is also apparently customisable, so that users can design their own apps for Jimmy, rather than rely on its AI.

One user reportedly developed an app for Jimmy to help it detect indoor air pollution because her family members  have severe allergies.

Robot Future?

The arrival of Jimmy means that Intel is joining the likes of SoftBank in developing a robot for the future. But Intel and SoftBank are not alone in pursuing the robot dream.

Google, for example, has made no secret of its plan to develop robots, and in December 2013, it acquired Boston Dynamics – a robot design company.

Google has also previously purchased Schaft, a team from Japan that specialised in bipedal designs, and Bit & Dolly, a robotic arm manufacturer that supplied equipment for the Sci-Fi blockbuster Gravity.

IBM uses robots to help it plot the temperature patterns in its data centres, in order to improve their energy efficiency.

And Honda has a robot called Asimo that can apparently play football, and Panasonic has created Hospi-R machines, that are designed to deliver medicines to patients in hospitals.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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