Ranchi man develops humanoid robot Rashmi, Indian version of ‘Sophia’

RANCHI: Ranjit Srivastava,38, from Ranchi has developed Indian version of ‘Sophia,’ a social humanoid robot developed by a Hong Kong based company, named Rashmi which can speak Hindi, Bhojpuri and Marathi along with English.

The developer claimed it as world’s first Hindi speaking realistic humanoid robot and India’s first lip-synching robot. Rashmi uses linguistic interpretation (LI), artificial intelligence (AI), visual data and facial recognition systems.

“Rashmi functions under a specially designed software and linguistic interpretation system developed by me. The LI programme analyses the feeling of the conversation while AI program analyses the conversation to extract the response from the device,” Srivastava said.

Experts termed it an incredible achievement. “I have not heard of any Hindi speaking robot in India. Though I have not seen the robot, it is incredible if it was developed,” said Dr Somnath Chattopadhyaya, associate professor of IIT-Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, who is also the dean of innovation and incubation.

A master of business administration (MBA), Srivastava, who has expertise in software development of more than 15 years, has developed the speaking robot in two years at a meager cost of Rs 50,000.

“It will take one month more to give it complete shape of a human. Head and body have been developed and they are functioning properly. Process is on to add hands and legs to it,” Srivastava said.Proprietor of Lotus Communication, a Ranchi based software company, Srivastava, said the robot has many features besides the lip-syncing. It gives facial, eye, lips, and eyebrow expressions and it can move its neck.

Humanoid robot is the need of future generation. It can work as bank receptionist, helper, friend of lonely people and others,” he claimed. Ask the robot anything, it will reply in the same manner. If the robot is told you are ugly, it replies…go to hell. Say you are beautiful, it will reply thank you.

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When asked about her favourite actor, it replied Shahrukh Khan. “It can talk for hours with a person and it recognizes the person after few meetings due to cameras fitted in its eyes,” Srivastava said.

Who inspired Srivastava to take up the speaking robot challenge, he said it was Sophia. “When I saw it and its functions, I thought it could be developed and decided to develop a Hindi speaking robot in July 2016,” said Srivastava, who has developed many software for different departments of the state government. Many of his software received national recognition.

Ranjit claims to have developed e-Nibandhan portal for registration department, which received Scotch award, e-library for information and public relation department, tourism portal for tourism department, which won national tourism award.