By Syed Iylia Hariz Al-Qadri and Hafzi@Hasani Mohamed
KUALA LUMPUR, July 19 (Bernama) -- Sophia, the social humanoid robot, has stolen the limelight over the past few days and even got to schmooze with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and debated with master debater Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, who is also the Youth and Sports Minister.
Sophia, the woman-like robot developed by Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics in 2016 was displayed for the first time in Malaysia at the Beyond Paradigm Summit here on July 17.
The two-day summit showcased the advanced technologies encapsulating the core ideas of automation and data exchange surrounding the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0).
However, little did Sophia and the summit goers know that Malaysia too has its own advanced humanoid robot named ADAM.
With a head visor on the face, ADAM, the acronym for Advanced Development Autonomous Machine, was developed by Robopreneur Sdn Bhd, a local robotics company based in Cyberjaya and in collaboration with Futurise Sdn Bhd whose programmes include catalysing Malaysia's robotic capabilities.
Futurise is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cyberview Sdn Bhd (a company owned by Ministry of Finance).
The company’s founder and CEO Dr Hanafiah Yussof said ADAM was first activated in March 2019 after a year of research and development, and prototyping work, thus claiming ADAM as the first Malaysian humanoid robot created.
The humanoid robot weighing 44 kg has a seamless full body movement with 22 degrees of freedom of upper body joints including fingers, and natural interaction capabilities with human, using voice detection and recognition empowered by artificial intelligent (AI) technology.
“So, the idea of developing humanoid robot is actually one of the initiatives in contributing to Malaysia’s vision of IR4.0, because developing humanoid actually involves developing the technology itself, such as robotic design, advanced computing, sensing fusion and AI, among the important components in IR4.0.
“This is actually a five-year project but now we have already completed the first phase of the project which is within the one-year milestone,” he told Bernama when met at the summit recently.
Hanafiah said ADAM was to be completed in three phases, with the second phase focusing on total body development.
The third phase would lead towards empowering the machine learning algorithm so that the robot will have the capability of more natural speech, visual recognition and emotion detection.
“For the third phase also, we will equip the robot with more human-like features, like the cover skin.
“We hope by then the robot will have a Malaysian face. So, this robot will become the icon of Malaysia,” said Hanafiah smiling when asked how the robot fared compared with Sophia.
He said, the company also has plans to mass-produce ADAM, as the robot offers a ready platform for AI and machine learning expansion, making it suitable as a research platform and further development towards creating social and healthcare robots that work in a human environment.
“I believe if you want to get into the big industry of artificial intelligence, we need to start taking action now and I believe if we have the right team, sufficient funding and good project execution plan, we will not be far behind China, United States and Japan,” he added.