Robot from Bristol firm makes first national TV appearance

South West | Technology
Pepper

A humanoid robot which has been customised by a Bristol firm has made its first national TV appearance – on a discussion about the impact of robots and artificial intelligence.

Pepper, which has been trained to ‘understand’ emotions and was taken on by GWS Robotics in Queen Charlotte Street, will feature on the BBC1’s The Big Question on Sunday [May 27].

The four-foot-tall robot, which can talk, laugh, dance and even ‘feel,’ will introduce the moral and ethical debate programme presented by Nicky Campbell.

David Graves, GWS Robotics creative director, said: “It was an exciting day for Pepper and the team at GWS to be involved in an event looking at such a topical discussion.”

GWS Robotics, a subsidiary of design and digital marketing company GWS Media, invested in Pepper in 2016.

The firm believes Pepper, which can be customised to individual businesses, should appeal to shops, offices, banks, transport hubs, museums and hotels.

David, a Cambridge University graduate who has worked as a computer programmer for nearly two decades, believes advances in robotic technology will benefit businesses.

David, 44, from Upper Knowle, said: “I don’t think we need to fear robots. I believe developments in social robotics will be beneficial to business because they add customer service value- at the same time as creating a fun experience.”

Pepper runs on wheels, and can interact through both words and gestures. It can even use facial recognition to pick up on sadness.

The Big Question is aired at 10am on Sunday and can be watched on iPlayer at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007zpll

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