Meet the French bots bringing sci-fi fantasy closer to reality


摘要:The Channel 4/AMC science fiction series Humans depicts a world where humanoid robots (known as Synths) can perform a range of household tasks such as running errands and doing the laundry. Synths can also help in the kitchen and care for the young and the elderly.

Meet the French bots bringing sci-fi fantasy closer to reality-3366NEWS

Image Credit: Blue Frog Robotics

The Channel 4/AMC science fiction series Humans depicts a world where humanoid robots (known as Synths) can perform a range of household tasks such as running errands and doing the laundry. Synths can also help in the kitchen and care for the young and the elderly.

Interestingly, the Humans original 2012 Swedish version, Real Humans, attracted a large French audience, and there may be a good reason for it.

France has as many 150,000 people working in the robotics industry. In 2015, the country was the world’s fifth largest robot exporter, ahead of the U.S. and China. As the rate of automation increases, French firms pace towards building robots that could lay down a promising foundation for emotionally intelligent humanoid robots that are efficient and cost-effective.


Buddy is the world’s first companion robot. The bot originates from the French headquarters of Blue Frog Robotics and weighs around 5 kg.

Buddy has a battery that lasts from 8 to 10 hours and moves on his three feet (wheels). He also has a plethora of sensors that allow him to travel, learn, and even interact with the world around him. Buddy also has the ability to protect family members. Users can operate Buddy through a remote control, but he is also equipped with real-time mapping navigation and has autonomous collision and obstacle avoidance so he can move on his own.

Buddy is pitched as a “revolutionary companion robot.” Users can deploy him for home security, elderly care, social interaction, and even kitchen help. Users can find the list of Buddies’ capabilities by downloading applications and new accessories.

Buddy’s creators say he is “democratizing robotics,” by offering an open-source technology platform whereby the global community of developers can build applications and accessories.


Unlike Buddy, Keylo comes in five different colors and offers various solutions for retailers and facility managers.

Wyca designed this telepresence robot to move autonomously and maneuver smoothly on uneven grounds. The bot’s platform suspensions were designed to cross door thresholds, allowing it to easily enter an elevator without human assistance. Keylo’s wide range of services can help increase workplace efficiency.

As a service bot, Keylo can serve clients in multiple sites from a single space. Clients can combine their website and physical store using Keylo and use the camera to capture the transactions. Keylo also acts as a nurse’s assistant for outpatients surgery units. This allows medical staff to focus on matters requiring immediate attention and lightens their workload. Keylo’s wide range of offerings include the abilities to enhance the collection of the patient consent, provide improved contact with medical staff, lower the risk of contamination, and guarantee safety with reduced maintenance.

Keylo also offers assistance in self-storage facilities and can even help rent units remotely. The bot operates from anywhere (even your office) and can check for the cleanliness of the corridors and the units. A single employee using Keylo can manage up to five self-storage units at one time which reduces the cost of staffing. The bot has a security system that offers an immediate response to any unknown intervention.

Like Buddy, Keylo has an open and scalable platform that allows improved research. Wyca provides full control of technology from the cloud and integrates into CRMs through the SaaS platform. Users can easily customize, replace, and even add Keylo’s components independently from Wyca.


RoboCARE Lab aims to create innovative solutions that allow elderly to age well and relieve caregivers from stress. The company designed PRESENCE+home to extend support to the dependent and the elderly, allowing them to socially bond with the robot. It has a simple interface that facilitates virtual visits as users control the bot remotely. The lab hopes this bot will simultaneously relieve caregivers from over exhaustion. PRESENCE+home relies on robotics and IoT and covers a full range of teleporting services. While it offers these services, it is the telepresence robot, SAM, that forms the connection between users as it has a screen and wheels, allowing it to conveniently move around.

But interestingly, the use of PRESENCE+home and SAM is not limited to elderly care.

Similar platforms that assist activities on campuses and in museums join PRESENCE+home. PRESENCE+Museum ensures everyone has access to art and culture. For museums, exhibition halls, and municipalities, this innovative service transports people, especially those with reduced mobility, into a museum or cultural exhibition. PRESENCE+Campus, another telepresence service is an eco-citizen initiative that allows SAM to create bonds between students, teachers, and even jury members, around the world.

SAM is currently only available in the French markets and his younger brother, SAMY, is scheduled to arrive in 2018. PRESENCE+home, however, will be available starting January 2018.

France’s booming bot market will only continue to produce more useful and human-like robot helpers in the future. As creators continue to grow and innovate within this space, it will be interesting to see how close we bring reality to the sci-fi worlds depicted in shows like Humans.

Deena Zaidi is a Seattle-based contributor for financial websites like TheStreet, Seeking Alpha, Truthout, Economy Watch, and icrunchdata.