West Bengal: Robot on wheels to greet pandal hoppers | Kolkata News

KOLKATA: Don’t be surprised if you find a robot welcoming you at the puja mandap. Made from indigenous technologies, this robot can meet and greet you and speak a few words. It can also carry puja offerings to goddess Durga.
At the Dakshinpara Durgotsav venue near Dum Dum Park this year, pandal hoppers will be greeted by a robot – Annapurna – who will also talk to them. Operated remotely by a team of professionals, Annapurna will also carry puja offerings to amaze the audience.
The robot, made by Kolkata-based start-up company Think Again Lab, has already been showcased at the Bengal Global Business Summit and popular shows on television. Annapurna, the robot, flaunts the signature of Saurav Ganguly on its dress.
“Technically you can call it a semi-humanoid butler robot which can perform multiple tasks. We are developing further applications which will be inducted in phases,” said Arijit Hajra, CEO of the start-up that created the robot in 2019. With a height of 5 feet 4 inches – a notch shorter than the Chinese giant Xiaomi’s recently launched robot CyberOne – Annapurna moves on wheels.
“The idea of creating a robot butler with indigenous technology struck in 2019 when we were working on a project to automate the kitchen-to-customer process for a client. When we approached a multinational for transfer of technology, they refused. This made us adamant and we decided to develop something on our own. Annapurna was a result of our hard work over the next six months. It was first deployed on Ashtami in 2019 at a famous mall in south Kolkata,” Hajra said. When speaking in a programmed mode, it can respond in 63 languages.
The bot has a sensing vision which can create a 3D map of an area with the simultaneous localised and mapping technology. “This is possible in a closed environment. But when Annapurna is deployed in an open environment, we control it remotely,” Hajra added.
For organisers, Annapurna is going to be a showstopper. “Our puja is 62 years old and we wanted to add something that was never experienced before,” said Subhajit Das, secretary of the puja committee.
During the puja days, Annapurna will also spread messages to people and encourage them to quit smoking.

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