Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Ivanka Trump were greeted by a humanoid robot named ‘Mitra’ in the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) developed by a Bengaluru-based start-up Invento Robotics. The robot made of fiber-reinforced plastic is capable of face and speech recognition and can interact with human beings convincingly. The one-year-old startup has been founded by Balaji Vishwanathan and hopes to deploy the five foot tall humanoid robot at banks, hotels and corporates. The indigenously built robot has autonomous navigation system and provides customers contextual information using recommendations engine similar to what social platforms and popular search engines use for their service. One such robot is already placed at Canara Bank’s main branch at JC Road in Bengaluru where it assists customers.
The robot is rented out at parties, events and functions and similarly, it was rented out for the GES 2017 summit for which Invento had programmed ‘Mitra’ as per the requirements. The robot could interact with participants at the summit on entrepreneurship, said Kaundinya Panyam, Invento’s Business Development Manager, according to Express report. Panyam stressed that ‘Mitra’ has served the purpose that India is also pushing towards start-ups and Invento being a start-up had aptly represented the startup ecosystem in the summit.
‘Mitra’ was developed eight months ago after the company founded in 2016 started building robots for assisting customers. Mitra can automate opening an account for a customer by taking the Aadhaar number and feeding the details in the bank’s database and ask the customer to collect the passbook from a specified counter within six or seven minutes. Invento Robotics is supported by The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) and the robots are customised according to specifications . ‘Mitra’ is equipped with a touchscreen which can be used to interact with the robot where speech is not possible.
Invento is looking at revolutionising robot in the country as ‘Mitra’ is capable to understand multiple languages and can work up to eight hours on a single charge. Mitra, however, is not the first of its kind. Softbank-controlled French robotics company Aldebaran Robotics developed and launched an interactive humanoid robot, Pepper, in 2014. Pepper is now used at 140 SoftBank Mobile stores in Japan to welcome and interact with customers. It also became the first humanoid robot to be used in homes. What makes Pepper unique is that it is designed to identify your emotions and behave accordingly.