IBM unveils a DIY robotic kit for its Watson AI

The idea for this robotic kit was born in IBM Research’s labs. Known as TJBot, named after IBM’s first president Thomas J. Watson, it is a kit designed to illustrate how IBM Watson artificial intelligence can be embedded. This cardboard robot is powered by a simple Raspberry Pi 3 card, but above all it is connected to IBM Cloud servers. It benefits from IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence capabilities. An original way to popularize Watson to DIY communities and especially to connected object designers, a potentially juicy market where competition between AI platforms is fierce.

A small robot to seduce DIY communities

IBM’s IA services on its Bluemix Cloud.

If, with its famous Watson, IBM was one of the very first companies to market artificial intelligence algorithms in the form of Cloud services, it is clear that today it is players such as Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft that are winning the day. Microsoft pushes Cortana on all PCs while Amazon Echo and Google Home push it into every home. IBM has a track record of success, particularly in the medical and corporate sectors, but if they don’t work on wizards directly competing with Amazon or Google connected objects, designers of connected objects often turn to rivals to implement voice commands for their products. In particular, Watson has the image of a more complex solution to be implemented by developers and an initiative such as TJBot aims to change their minds.

In robotics, our TJBot is of a particularly Spartan design. Kit includes cutting frame, Raspberry Pi 3 card, 16GB memory card, USB microphone, speaker, servo motor, LED handle and cables. The robot cannot move, but only interact with Watson or its LEDs and moving his arm. Some video assembly courses are available on Instructables and it is possible to purchase this kit on the Adafruit or Sparkfun website for about $125 to $150.

Source: “Hello TJBot!”, IBM Reseach

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