Robot World: Service Robots

ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute)

The Intelligent Cognitive Technology Research Department at ETRI has developed an elder care robot. It has been used in a study called “HealthBots” in collaboration with the University of Auckland.

The robot is a typical design with a mobile base and touchscreen. It incorporates a shelf that can be used to carry medical equipment.

Fig. 1:
A robot for aged care, shown here recharging
with the base connected to its docking station.

KIST (Korea Institute of Science and Technology)

There has been a lot of discussion in the media about plans to replace teachers with robots, or at least to make-up for a lack of English-speaking teachers. The CIR (Center for Intelligent Robotics) at KIST (Korea Institute of Science and Technology) has developed an avatar robot called “ENGKEY” for teaching English to students. It is a tele-presence platform designed to connect teachers into classrooms that would be otherwise unable to employ a physical teacher.

The robot has a novel design that has been described as “dumpy” or egg-like, which is supposed to make it appealing or at least non-threatening to younger students. It has 3 omni-directional wheels, a Kinect depth sensor in the chest, ultrasonic sensors around the waist and a screen that pops-up out of the top.

They also developed a similar model for elder care called “SILBOT”.


Fig. 2:
ENGKEY in its powered-off state.

Video 1:
This TV news story shows ENGKEY in operation
in a classroom (Korean language).

ETRI and Yujin Robot Co. Ltd

Robosem is another tele-presence robot designed for teaching English.

Academic paper:
Park et al., “Teaching Assistant Robot, ROBOSEM, in English Class and Practical Issues for its Diffusion”,
Advanced Robotics and its Social Impacts, 2011 PDF

Fig. 3:

Video 2:
Industrial design and
features of ROBOSEM

Design K Lee
Here is a new product video for ROBOSEM.

Video 3:


KETI (Korea Electronics Technology Institute)

A typical-looking service robot with an anthropomorphic head and a touchscreen in the chest.
Apparently it can mimic human gestures but I’m not sure of the specific applications.

Fig. 4:

ED Corporation

They have developed a series of robots called “ARO” that were designed to be used
as an information kiosk, hotel concierge or for purchasing tickets.

Fig. 5:
Brochure of ARO service robot
configured with arms.

Fig. 6:
Brochure of ARO with a large
screen for advertisements.

Fig. 7:
Brochure for ARO the
ticketing robot.


They were displaying various service robots, such as their PGR-5 which is designed
to be used as an information kiosk or for telepresence.

Fig. 8:
PGR-5 brochure.

Future Robot

They were demonstrating their FURO-S service robot, which is designed to be a mobile advertising billboard, an information kiosk or receptionist.
It has a familiar design, however the touchscreen is the largest I have seen for any service robot.

Fig. 9:
Brochure for FURO-S.