Lakeland Tech club receives humanoid for future programs

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Lakeland Tech club receives humanoid for future programs

Austin Tanck, Staff Reporter

Standing at four feet tall, Poppy the humanoid, costed about $31,000. The team named the humanoid after, Frances “Poppy” Northcutt, a computress who worked on NASA’s Apollo space programs. 

She has sensors that can register ones facial patterns and recognize what the individuals are saying. She can turn her head, arms and even roll around. Poppy has to register to someone in order for her to properly function. 

Softbank robotics gave permission to Lakeland to purchase “pepper”, later changed to Poppy, through a grant for the future research plans robotics, tech club, and the psychology department. 

The tech department in the past few years have been working on four robots to work on coding. This has allowed the department to gain experience working with robots before coming working with Poppy. 

Dr. Cynthia Lindstrom, the Associate Professor of Computer Science, said that the group needed a grant in order to make the purchase for the Softbank Humanoid. The grant was received from the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation. 

The main purpose of this humanoid is to serve as a concierge for companies and their customers. At Lakeland, however, they plan on having Poppy interact with adults that have autism, and help with its research. 

“She (Poppy) is an emotional robot and she can recognize emotion. She can look at your face and tell if you are sad, and ask why you are sad,” Dr. Lindstrom said. She can also record these interactions for the doctors. The tech department plans to work on this project with the Psychology department to make the proper coding. 

Dr. Lindstrom plans for the humanoid Poppy to be ready for some tests and research beginning in the spring semester. She also said Poppy could benefit Lakeland by bringing her to recruiting fairs and have her interact with young students.  

Although she is relatively new coming into Lakeland she already has 60 commands that are relatively basic. If coded to play, she could even play a game of Chess, Checkers, or Connect 4. She could scan the board and plan six moves in advance.   

Dr. Lindstrom is planning a special topics class in the spring for the students who are interested in Computer Science and are interested in trying coding. 

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