by Anmol AhujaApr 16, 2022
In times of flexible working where people could be professionally performing their roles from anywhere – be it the sterile workstations of co-working spaces, in a makeshift garage, or in the humdrum of their own home – the place you pin yourself to tick daily tasks off your to-do-list often become a boring solitary landscape you return to daily. With the idea to enliven this space with a companion – one who could keep you away from inconspicuously slipping into your mobiles – Energize Lab presents a little robot called Eilik, which is designed 'to bring endless fun to your desktop'.
What's different about Eilik, you may ask, that sets it apart from its precedents? As per the innovative startup, this desktop companion bot comes equipped with emotional intelligence that makes its interaction with people more reciprocative. Its creator, designer Shaw Yeung, describes it as a new kind of social robot that brings up a higher level of emotional interactions between humans and robots. For Yeung, the idea of the product was born from a childhood dream of having a robot friend, like “R2-D2 from Star Wars, Rodney from Robots, or Baymax from Big Hero 6,” he says. The key focus behind the genesis of Eilik was to fill what was missing in the development of such robots. Yeung adds, “Technology and robotics are advancing faster than ever: voice assistance, pattern recognition, service robots, educational robots, industrial robots...They are designed to provide information, do repetitive work to make our life more efficient. But something crucial is missing.” This gap was the lack of emotional assistance that Eilik responded to.
One could pat Eilik’s head, belly, or his back to enjoy how it responds in gentle squirms or projects eclectic moods on its OLED screen. Sometimes the robot configures an upset mood, and when one touches it in its state, the corresponding reflex appears on its face-like screen. Adding to this, "Eilik is always not so strong. He is afraid of heights so remember to come for comfort when he is upset. You need to keep an eye on him. He will play around when he is bored," shares Energize Lab in a video made to display the features of the robot. “In addition,” they add, "Eilik has lots of interesting things to do in his spare time, such as reading, fishing, and exercising. If putting Eiliks together, they will recognise each other, play, and build friendships just like us."
Behind Eilik’s sophisticated industrial design and vibrant features is a meticulous system. The device is composed of an OLED screen that displays the various animated expressions, a vibration motor and sensor, and three touch sensors and four EM3 servos. The size measures 108x105x133mm, and it weighs 230 grams. The flexible bodily features like arms and torso are made of high strength polycarbonate. Furthermore, Eilik comes with a 3W speaker for distinct robotic sounds; a USB-C port for daily charging; and an inbuilt 450 mAh Li-po battery that lasts for 1.5 hours when fully charged. Eilik isn’t required to be connected to an app, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi. When there is no interaction with the robot, it automatically falls asleep to save battery.
Eilik is an initiative by Energize Lab, an innovative startup dedicated to creating a robot with soul and endless fun. Having their patented robot technology and animation experts, the company focuses on robotic technology and products, including robot joints, control systems, and consumer robot. Eilik was launched late last year as the company’s first companion robot through Kickstarter.