Nigerian tech firm builds first African humanoid robot


Photo: Omeife, Africa’s first  humanoid robot

A new Nigerian technology company, Uniccon Group, has built Africa’s first humanoid robot, named ‘Omeife.’

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The 6-feet tall multi-lingual robot is a female Igbo figure/character that provides language as a service for businesses needing to integrate native African audiences.

She is also a multipurpose and assistance robot.

The humanoid robot speaks African languages and is programmed to have a deep understanding of African culture and behavioural patterns.

Uniccon said it took two years to create the robot.

The company said that Omeife actually can speak and understanding eight different languages, including speak English, French, Arabic, Kiswahili, Pidgin, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Afrikaans.

Omeife, which is now ready to interact with the outside world, also has terrain intelligence, knowing the ground and having stability on the floor, which helps it navigate on non-flat surfaces and maintain good balance.

The humanoid also has GPS for location and state-management for knowing whether the system is standing, walking, talking and so on, as well as Advanced Gestures.

She expresses while talking, gives hand illustrations, smiles and makes other bodily gestures.

Boasting a good grip, she has the ability to understand shape and how to hold things with her hand.

Conversation wise, she has realtime understanding, can actively listen and focus on a specific conversation thread as it’s happening.

The robot also has the ability to switch languages and interact with specific gestures and possesses native accent, complete with pitch and vocabulary detailed pronunciations of words, sentences and even phrases.

Omeife can also identify and tag humans through face and facial expressions; pay attention to a specific item when required; identify objects and knows their characteristics, as well as calculate positions and distance of objects it sees.

Uniccon added that the humanoid was built with top social interactive skills as she can pay attention to a specific person to keep conversations alive.

She is polite, careful and aware of words, phrases, sentences and expressions that are not polite in African cultures.

The robot is said to be safe for kids and not reactive; and is knowledgeable in various fields and always teachable.

She is said to have a learning pipeline to always improve and understand new things from conversations and has the ability to recall, understand old concepts better with new information.

Mr Chuks Ekwueme, CEO, Uniccon Group of Companies, while speaking on the Omeife humanoid robot project, said, “Africa is fast being recognized for its contribution to the global tech ecosystem.

“Through Omeife and other projects, we’re happy to play a part in helping businesses and people all over Africa achieve their fullest potentials by providing access to the most innovative technologies for efficiency.”

‘Omeife’ is an Igbo word which translates in English to mean ‘doer of things.’

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