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FAQ

Browse the most common questions we are asked about the Furhat platform

Introducing Social Robots and Furhat

  • Social robots are a new type of physical computer interface designed to be used in social contexts, to interact with people. The goal is for them to interact with us humans as we do with each other, by listening, speaking, and expressing some degree of emotion. Verbal communication and social interaction are skills we have evolved over thousands of years and as they come so naturally to us, there is little to no learning curve. By communicating with us the way we do with each other, social robots have the ability to connect with us in deeper and more meaningful ways, potentially removing the barriers between humanity and technology.

  • This is a question that is fundamentally about User Experience. A physically-embodied robot provides a more immersive experience than a chatbot or a smart speaker. Furhat has the capability to look the user in the eyes, share a smile, and create a sense of shared experience and connection that is difficult to replicate over video or voice-only interaction. The core foundation of a social robot is that it is social – in other words, it allows the user to engage socially and emotionally with it, as if they were talking to a human in front of them.

    Our blog post “Why do we even need robots? Aren’t chatbots and avatars enough?” explains this in more detail – analysing the roles that co-presence and proximity play in the effectiveness of social robots.

  • Read our “What’s in a Name?” blog post to find out!

  • It would, but it also increases the complexity. Our focus for now is on the face and the robot’s ability to have conversations. There is a lot more work to be done on the communication of facial expressions, speech and natural language understanding before we move on to the rest of the body.

  • There are many distinctive factors that make Furhat different from other robots in the market. A few of the most important points are listed below:
     

    • Human communication:
      Most robots the world has seen so far have been focused on movement and dexterity. Our robot is a social robot with the sole purpose of communicative interaction.
    • Human face:
      Many other social robots have a simplified toy-like interface and not a human face.
    • Unique personas:
      Furhat boasts a relaxed human quality that you don’t get from other social robots – put simply, it feels like you are actually talking to a person rather than a machine.
    • Customizable mask:
      Furhat has a customizable silica mask which uses projected facial animations in the form of features and expressions to deliver those human-like qualities – each Furhat robot can be customized in several ways to create unique characters with their own personality and quirks.
    • World-leading software:
      Furhat’s ‘brain’ is powered by a custom state-of-the-art conversational intelligence software. The Furhat Software includes an Software Development Kit (SDK) which can be used to program the robot to participate in social human interactions.
  • This can be a common reaction, particularly if it is your first time coming across a robot. There is a scientifically researched notion called the ‘Uncanny Valley’, which depicts the feeling you get when you see an artificial being displaying human-like features. However, we are sure that once you have the opportunity to interact and engage with Furhat, this feeling will subside.

  • Furhat can “see you” via the inbuilt camera in the bust of the robot. For a robot to interact socially and effectively with human beings, it is important to not only detect, but also understand human faces and what they represent. We are developing Furhat’s visual perception capabilities to have the same fundamental capabilities as a human being. You can read more on this topic via our blog post “The visual perception of a social robot”.

  • The Furhat robot has the capability to recognize individual users, in order to provide a personalized experience. This can be achieved in various ways:
     

    • Facial recognition:
      This technology is in its infancy, however if the robot is deployed in the right environment, it is possible for the robot to detect a user via the in-built camera.
    • External device:
      This could be in the form of a badge reader or QR code scanner, among others. This is the most reliable method of recognising a specific user, that will work in all environments.
    • Connect to a back-end system:
      The robot can pull user data from a back-end system and log any information gathered in the interaction. Note! No user data is automatically logged. The use of any user data is under the discretion of the developer of the interaction, enabling you to stay in line with data privacy regulations.
  • Furhat is a new user interface, that provides a vastly unique user experience in social and physical environments. As well as bringing commercial benefits, particularly in the time of a pandemic, Furhat’s interactions are proven to be memorable, something that will set your brand apart from competitors.

    Bringing Furhat into your company will provide numerous additional benefits, including:
     

    • Reduces the need for physical contact in times of the pandemic, while still allowing for a human-like and rich experience.
    • Adds to services offered, e.g. through more languages, increased service hours or personalized experiences.
    • Provides the ability to speak with multiple people simultaneously, something which other forms of technology is not capable of.
    • Embodies your brand in locations where your staff cannot be present.
    • Helps you stay innovative with the latest technology, often bringing with it extensive PR and media attention.
    • Reduces cost over time: a robot will run 24/7 without breaks, vacation or need for more stimulating tasks – leaving humans to take on more interesting and creative tasks!
    • Provides a less intimidating interaction for people with social disorders, such as Autism or social anxiety.
    • Removes human bias from certain decision-making tasks
    • Maintains attention and increases engagement levels in conversations and activities
  • The Furhat platform is highly flexible and extremely customizable, enabling you to create applications for a wide variety of use cases. You can develop an application to handle a multitude of user requests, ensuring that each customer experiences a positive and useful interaction with the robot.

    Just like mobile devices, once an application is created it can be deployed across many Furhat robot devices.

    The application can also be translated into any of the world’s 40 most common languages, meaning that the robot will be able to serve most users in their native language.

Using the Furhat Robot

Sales & Support

  • This depends on your purpose and vision with using our robot. For experimental and research purposes (e.g. universities and innovation labs) we sell the robot, whereas robots that are to be used for commercial purposes are leased on a monthly basis which includes a strong package of support, maintenance and full warranty. You can contact us here for more clarification on costs and available packages.

  • The length and complexity of an implementation project will differ based on the scope of use case, number of robots, team size etc., but it is common for most projects follow the path of the below stages:

    • Acquire a Furhat robot.
    • Develop a new tailored application for approx. 2-5 months.
    • Deploy and test the pilot application in a live environment for approx. 1-2 months.
    • Improve and iterate based on feedback for approx. 2-3 months.
    • Deploy a permanent installation in a live environment.

     
    We recommend that you have an in-house development team to create your application(s), however we do work alongside the world’s top development agencies who can support you.

    Experience in developing conversational applications is recommended, but not required.

    Depending on your idea and use case, continuous improvements based on feedback and user input can be continued throughout the application lifecycle.

  • We offer basic technical onboarding training for all new customers. Our Developer Documentation Site and YouTube channel also includes extensive guides and tutorials which are freely available at all times. Custom training packages or consulting services throughout a project are available for a fee, depending on your needs.

  • The robot is shipped with several demo applications, which provide inspiration for your own application development and allow you to interact with the robot out of the box. There are also tutorials and example applications available on our GitHub profile.

    If you require domain expertise, we work alongside the world’s top development agencies who can support you in developing your application.

    • Speech recognition for 124 languages (including regional variants)
    • Speech synthesis with 197 different voices in 31 languages
    • 4 masks (adult, child, anime, dog) with 22 adult faces
    • 20 facial gestures (from 52 parameters)
    • Web interface to monitor and manage wizard-of-Oz interactions
    • A short list of common intents and entities for English, Spanish, Mandarin, German and Swedish.
    • Tutorial and examples skills
    • Example skill flows for the visual prototyping tool Blockly
  • All our clients are welcome to contact us through our Support portal, and we also have an open community with global Furhat users where you can ask other developers for advice.

    As a leasing client, you automatically have access to our premium support package with faster response and resolution time, live technical remote support, tips and advice to improve your application.

    If you have purchased the robot, there are additional support packages available on an annual basis for an additional fee.

    Contact us for a quote and more details regarding support packages.

  • As a Furhat customer, you will be eligible for frequent software updates, roughly every month. These are free and available in our Developer Documentation site, and we recommend every robot owner to keep a look out for these and ensure that their robot is updated with the latest software version to take part of all the new features that are continuously developed.

    The hardware does not require much maintenance, however you can read tips about caring for your robot in our Robot Owners Guide (page 36), covering environmental, handling, cleaning and transportation of the robot.

    In case of any issues or damages with the robot hardware, we offer warranty and support packages to cover all eventualities.

  • This feature is not currently available. We believe that there are better technologies out there that specialize in this space. Our main focus is on interactions in environments with the need for a physical embodiment.

  • Yes, this is possible via a number of ways. Given the current requirement for virtual meetings, we are offering frequent online live demo sessions, hosted by our Furhateers. This is the nearest thing to meeting Furhat in real-life. The 45-minute session provides you with the opportunity to see Furhat in action, view a brief demonstration and ask questions to a member of our team. You can book a demo here.

    Once it becomes safe, we will be attending events again. Keep an eye on our social media channels to see where we will be in the world, and reach out to drop by for a demo.

    You can also contact our resellers for a meeting if this makes sense, depending on your location. You can view our list of global partners here.

  • For technical information, see our Developer Documentation site. For any other questions, contact sales@furhatrobotics.com.

  • Yes, you can hire a robot specifically for an event. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now also available to provide virtual demos and presentations for events.

    Please submit a contact form, and we will be in touch with you soon.

  • Feel free to email us directly at sales@furhatrobotics.com with any further questions and we will get back to you shortly.

Downloads

Our documents prepare you for your very own Furhat

Product sheet

Technical Product Overview

Benefits of Social Robots

A guide to your first Furhat

Robot Owners Guide

Furhat Platform Data Security And Privacy

Furhat Conversational Platform White Paper

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Further reading

See our latest posts and learn more about the Furhat platform

”Whenever we encounter issues with the Furhat platform, their easy-to-use Service Desk is our go-to place! We get fast replies, always with a good, positive and helpful approach, where we either get a solution or follow-up questions that help us reflect on the challenge. We at Tengai feel that we can always count on our friends at Furhat!”
Sinisa Strbac Chief Product Officer at Tengai

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