Somchaya Liemhetcharat
Otus Robot
Otus - An attentive video-conferencing robot

The Otus robot was developed at the Institute of Infocomm Research (I2R). The robot is designed to solve video-conferencing needs during small meetings. Currently, high-end solutions for large meeting rooms exist (e.g., Polyccm systems), but smaller meetings typically use laptops for video-conferencing. Suppose that there is a meeting among 4 people, of which 1 person is at a remote location. The current solution would be to use a laptop for video conferencing. However, the laptop would have to either to placed very far from the 3 people in the meeting room (making their faces very small in the video stream), or the laptop can be brought closer to face 1 person, but it has to be manually turned when someone else starts talking.

The Otus robot solves this problem by automatically paying attention to the active person in the meeting, making use of the on-board microphones to perform sound localization, and face tracking to follow the active person if he/she moves around the room. As such, the people conducting the meeting can focus on the meeting at hand without worrying about the video stream. Also, n a typical video conference call, the person on the remote end is given less attention since his/her physical presence is not felt in the room. The Otus robot provides a sense of embodiment for the person at the remote end, since Otus moves automatically to track the active person in the meeting. Below is a video demonstrating the Otus in action:

We showcased the Otus robot at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, and received great interest from the public and media. I was interviewed by IEEE Young Professionals about Otus:

Here are some news articles mentioning Otus at CES 2015: