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Meet 'Buddy': The Star Wars-Inspired Robot

Paris-based Blue Frog Robotics has developed a robot that functions as a security device, networking platform and educational tool.

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Like many of his generation, when Blue Frog Robotics Founder and CEO Rodolphe Hasselvander saw "Star Wars," he dreamed about one day building an R2-D2-like robot. Decades later, Hasselvander has done just that.

Paris-based Blue Frog Robotics has developed "Buddy," a robot that operates as a personal assistant, security device, networking and connection platform, and plain-old entertainment. Buddy is based on an open model for developers, who can create their own applications for the robot.

Blue Frog Robotics is a spinoff of the French-based robotics team, CRIIF, which specializes in industrial and service robots. Buddy can "talk" and recognize faces. The robot can patrol areas, and manage and automate connected devices, such as lightbulbs and thermostats, all of which connect to smartphones. Hasselvander sees a huge opportunity for the robot in the classroom.

"We tested Buddy in different schools in France, and it's a really, really useful tool," Hasselvander said. "Because it's friendly, so kids want to play with Buddy. But they don't play -- they learn a lot of things. So it's a good partner for a teacher."

Hasselvander also envisions Buddy as a companion to the elderly, and individuals with disabilities.

PUBLISHED AUG. 19, 2015

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