For many of us, the dream for robots is not to invent machines as tools, but to invent a friend or co-worker. Ideally, not human-like friendship bond, but our own R2D2, BB-8, or Jarvis. While Google Assistant, Apple’s Siri, and Amazon’s Echo are close to giving us a Jarvis-type AI, we still have some time for Star Wars-type Androids. While we are on our way to those creations, we can stop along the way with Peeqo.
Peeqo is a personal desktop robot who interacts and communicates through the use of GIFs. He has a conversational user interface which allows him to respond to voice commands, but answers only through GIFs, still helping you with your work.
Abhisek Singh coded and built Peeqo for his thesis project at NYU’s ITP school, a graduate program that aims to explore the imaginative uses of media and technology. In the thesis project, Singh noted that GIFs have become a type of language on the Internet. He said since robots may have a difficult time expressing emotions, this would give them the ability to emotive robots. Singh also stated on his Imgur page that Peeqo was a complex build since it involved several different skill sets and disciplines. Besides interacting entirely through GIFs, Peeqo can also turn off lights, play music, and monitor your computer distractions. He also has a built in camera.
Based on Peeqo’s demonstrations, the merger of GIFs and emotive robots creates an adorable robot desk assistant. The combinations of GIFs and movements of its body, the design is not only friendly and responsive but cute! Peeqo has more personality than the Amazon Echo or the Google Home.
Singh’s vision for Peeqo is to be a workplace assistant, helping you to keep on track with your assignments, help you get the information you are looking for, and, the most important part, giving you small moments of delight and fun that will entertain you to get you through the day!
While Peeqo cannot be purchased, you can build your very own, using the how to guide Abhisek Singh uploaded on his Imgur post. He is also making the code for Peeqo open sourced for fellow developers to come in and help Peeqo advance to help us with even more workload activities!