A Pasadena-based company that manufactures a therapeutic robot designed to aid in child development has acquired a Hong Kong-based startup specializing in “conversational AI,” representatives have announced.
Embodied Inc., which makes the child-friendly robot Moxie, has bought Kami Computing, Embodied said in a written statement.
The acquisition is meant to help refine Moxie’s interactions to become more and more lifelike, according to Embodied founder and CEO Paolo Pirjanian.
“The next big wave in technology will be driven by human-machine interfaces,” he said. “Kami’s technology helps us continue developing category-defining technology to create social emotional robots that have the power to fight the loneliness epidemic and change people’s lives.”
The task of creating an AI that can carry on 20 minutes of general conversation has long been a goal of developers, according to Embodied.
“Embodied has now demonstrated with actual customers that we can maintain on average 25 minutes of engagement with the user every day for more than 3 months — and still going. This is unprecedented,” the statement said.
In addition to speaking, Moxie also uses expressions and motions to convey emotion.
“We are creating an entirely new category which for now looks believable to a 5-year-old and in the foreseeable future will be believable for anyone and everyone and serve multiple markets,” the statement added.
Kami CEO Guy de Beer of Kami Computing, who founded the company along with David Levy, said the company’s scientists were eager to bring the skills to Embodied.
“We’re thrilled to join Paolo and the Embodied team as they embark on the exciting journey to change the future of robotics through lifelike, believable human-machine interaction,” he said. “Our conversational technology will have an outstanding impact on interaction with Moxie as well as the development of future projects,” said Guy de Beer, Founder and CEO of Kami Computing.