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Qbo beware the vain robot

qbo the vain robot

Qbo the robot gazes at itself in the mirror for the first time and is impressed with what it sees.
(Credit: TheCorpora)

“Does this aluminum exterior casing make my butt look big?”

In the future, you may find yourself having to reassure your robot companion that it looks great, as engineers in Madrid have developed a robot that can recognize itself in the mirror.

Meet Qbo, an open-source robot built on Linux that has learned to identify itself and other objects. The project started as a “what if” experiment by creator Francisco Paz and his team of engineers at TheCorpora. The robit is already equipped with two cameras to give it stereoscopic vision and features facial and object recognition software, so the group wondered it they could teach the robot to recognize itself.

As you’ll see in the video below, the robot first identifies a penguin (the Linux penguin, of course) and then wheels over to the mirror where it can’t recognize itself at first. However, after its human friend says, “This is you, Qbo,” the robot is quickly able to learn and identify its reflection in the mirror.

Paz explains in his blog that Qbo has answers and behaviours stored in its internal knowledge base, but even so, the reaction to seeing itself is pretty endearing.

The team is now working on getting the robot to recognize itself autonomously, so we’ll soon find out what happens when one Qbo encounters another Qbo.