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The students of Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT) Pune and technology giant IBM have developed a robot, Chintu, which would assist senior citizens in their everyday tasks. Chintu, under 2ft tall robot, was developed after MIT Pune received a grant of Rs 10 lakh last year from IBM. It is powered by the US-based company's cognitive assistant, IBM Watson. Chintu can move his hands and read books to an audience. "Drawing from Watson's domain knowledge, Chintu will assist senior citizens in conducting everyday tasks such as reading the newspaper/book and generate reminders on their daily medication," Professor and Head of Computer Engineering Department at MIT Pune, Vrushali Kulkarni, told PTI. She added that the students have been working on the project for the past few months.
While 'Chintu' is still a few years from becoming mainstream, the students will continue to work on him to add functionalities. "This has also opened up a new and exciting research avenue for our students. Robotics, Machine Learning and Cognitive Computing are interesting fields of research today and our students are getting first-hand experience of working in these fields," she said. Mezjan Dallas, University Relations Leader at IBM India said the project is a great example of co-creation. "You put great technology in the hands of bright and enthusiastic students, you give them freedom and a fun element and India's next generation of engineers start to do magical things," he said.