Beware the vain robot

The self-aware robot is one step closer to existence as engineers have programmed a cute little bot to recognize itself in the mirror.

Qbo the robot gazes at itself in the mirror for the first time and is impressed with what it sees. TheCorpora

"Does this aluminum exterior casing make my butt look big?"

In the future, you may find yourself having to reassure your robot companion that it looks great, as engineers in Madrid have developed a robot that can recognize itself in the mirror.

Meet Qbo, an open-source robot built on Linux that has learned to identify itself and other objects. The project started as a "what if" experiment by Qbo creator Francisco Paz and his team of engineers at TheCorpora. Qbo is already equipped with two cameras to give it stereoscopic vision and features facial and object recognition software, so the group wondered it they could teach Qbo to recognize itself.

As you'll see in the video below, Qbo first identifies a penguin (the Linux penguin, of course) and then wheels over to the mirror where it can't recognize itself at first. However, after its human friend says, "This is you, Qbo," the robot is quickly able to learn and identify its reflection in the mirror.

Paz explains in his blog that Qbo has answers and behaviors stored in its internal knowledge base, but even so, Qbo's reaction to seeing itself is pretty endearing.

The team is now working on getting the robot to recognize itself autonomously, so we'll soon find out what happens when one Qbo encounters another Qbo.

CNET copy editor Jeff Sparkman contributed to this report.

(Via Popular Science)

About the author

Bonnie Cha was a former chief correspondent for CNET Crave, covering every kind of tech toy imaginable (with a special obsession for robots and Star Wars-related stuff). When she's not scoping out stories, you can find her checking out live music or surfing in the chilly waters of Northern California.


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