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Robot takes party photos & uploads to net

Sunday 9 Sep 2012 6:52 p.m.

By Susie Nordqvist

The paparazzi have long been the bane of celebrities’ lives. But will a new device by Microsoft put an end to all that?

The man behind the invention known as Roborazzi was in Auckland this week.

Roborazzi is an automated party robot who has taken the meaning of being "papped" to a whole new level.

“Instead of having friends or family over during a party, have them take photos of the party, why don't you have a robot to take pictures for you?” asks Microsoft developer Loke Uei Tan.

Roborazzi is the brainchild of a group of Microsoft developers in the US. It travels the room on motorised wheels taking photographs and uploading them to Flickr and is fitted with Kinect sensors, so it knows what is and isn't human.

“[I don't know] if you've played any Xbox Kinect games, but the dancing game – that's how they track the individual,” says Mr Tan. “We use the same technology to look for somebody.”

He says while robots are common in industry, very few of them have made their way into our homes.

“The only two successful commercial robots – one is a vacuum cleaner, the other is a toy. There is no real commercial use good use of a robot at home today.”

But that's something Microsoft hopes to change.

“It's not even complicated. It's actually very simple. The concept is so simple that anybody can build this robot.”

Microsoft says it's not in the business of selling robots, but is trying to encourage the development of them for consumer applications in the home.

Despite what its name might suggest, Roborazzi isn't about to replace the Paparazzi.

“No, it can't get on a motorbike and chase down a star,” says the Microsoft developer. “It can't do that, but it would work very well at an event.”

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