Taiwan’s smart scrabble-playing robot steals the show at CES in Las Vegas

Two cutting-edge technologies by ITRI shine at CES 2018

ITRI’s IVS robot has attracted numerous CES visitors to play Scrabble during the CES show. (Credit: ITRI)

ITRI’s IVS robot has attracted numerous CES visitors to play Scrabble during the CES show. (Credit: ITRI)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A scrabble-playing robot drew lots of attention from visitors and top U.S. media at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), one of the world's largest trade shows, in Las Vegas this week.

The smart robot was built by Taiwan's leading technology R&D institution, and was revealed in Las Vegas ahead of the show starting Wednesday. The artificial intelligence application won the CES 2018 Innovation Awards for Intelligent Vision System (IVS).

The robot's developer, the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), also took home the top award at the show for another application -- a Handheld Pesticide Residue Detector. The two winning technologies are showcased at the show, and visitors can play what has been known as one of the world's most mentally challenging board games with the robot.

"This is a phenomenal opportunity for ITRI to showcase to the world its efforts in hardware-software integration and intelligent system development,” ITRI Executive Vice President Dr. C.T. Liu said. "The technological advancements are expected to assist industry in digital transformation and extend Taiwan's strengths in manufacturing to forge differentiated AI-enabled services."

ITRI's Intelligent Vision System (IVS) for companion robots integrates AI, 3D vision recognition, and eye-hand coordination technologies. It allows an IVS robot to grasp and move objects without collisions, and even perform delicate tasks such as playing scrabble, pouring beverages, and learning from experience. It is able to perceive objects based on their size, shape, color, and location, and recognize vocabulary.

When playing scrabble, the IVS robot can recognize individual letters and the words spelled by players and determine the spelling that scores highest from possible letter combinations. After recognizing the letters on the tiles and acquiring all the data through its vision, the robot operates its arm to move and grab accordingly. The robot can also calculate the scores of the players accurately and rapidly.