A two-year old company situated in Mabushi, crossroad area between inner and outer district in the Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria, UNICCON group of companies headed by a Chuks Ekwueme has built the first humanoid robot in Africa.
This idea was conceptualized in 2020 and its design, building and existence happened in two years.
The humanoid robot has been named “Omeife”. Omeife is a 6 feet female Igbo character that speaks up to 8 languages as of now. She speaks English, French, Arabic, Kiswahili, Pidgin, Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Afrikaans. The robot has a deep understanding of African culture and behavioral patterns which centers more on politeness and respect. In other words, it is a robot with manners. It also speaks with the African native accent; the inflection and intense pronunciation of each word.
The humanoid is powered by artificial intelligence algorithms. In an interview with tech cabal, Chuks Ekwueme, founder and Chief Executive Officer of UNICCON explained that the humanoid has a real time understanding of its environment including active listening and the ability to focus on a specific conversation thread as it is happening. He said “it is not just multilingual, it has the ability to switch languages and interact with specific gestures; hand illustrations, smile and other bodily gestures that match the tone of a conversation”. When asked if the robot could express negative emotions, Chuks Ekwueme said it could not; the robot was built void of negative emotions, it can neither frown nor express sadness.
From the discussion, techcabal thought the outward appearance was not easy on the eyes but the CEO went ahead to confirm that it was not built for physical beauty but was rather built for intellectual purposes. He went ahead to explain that making the physical appearance more beautiful is not such a hard task and if it is what is needed he could do that but his main purpose of invention is the intellectual ability.
It has been rumored that the invention of robots that could perform the tasks humans can will put humans out of jobs in years to come but Chuks has stated clearly that his invention was not made with the purpose of displacing humans. He stated “we never planned to replicate humans but build a robot that can support humans with some level of precision and we have done that”.
Omeife was supposed to be unveiled at the GITEXT event that was held in Dubai but it was not cleared at the border.
The CEO has said he is going to keep modeling the first version and hopes to sell this humanoid robot created for intellectual social engagement to other companies for $30,000 each.