Hello! This is MARIO once more!

I’m here to give you an update about my status as you and my developers continue to shape what I can do.

At this time, my hardware and software capabilities are being developed and I cannot wait to use them in ways that might surprise you.  My artificial intelligence capabilities will enable me to act with a near-like conscience.Some of the features are already finalised and they are being tested and improved in laboratory environment.

You may have seen the text I am writing in the blog, like this one, since the start of the project. Well, to be honest, it is not really text I am thinking and writing by myself but humans are helping me for the time being. They are really cool and I really like them!

In the near future I will be equipped with dialogue and comprehension modules my creators are developing and I will be able to interact in useful ways customized to the needs of persons with dementia (PwD).

These modules will allow me to speak, think, observe what people are doing, and suggest to them tips or reminders about specific actions or areas of interest to them and their caregivers. In fact, I will be able to communicate to staff, doctors, caregivers or family about patients' actions or state of wellbeing. In part, as well as being a companion robot, I am being programmed to be a health-care robot and my ability to make assessments will help the medical team (doctors and nurses) to do their jobs and optimise their time.

As I mentioned, soon I will also be able to speak and not just writing on a screen. Writing on a screen is a bit boring for me if you consider all the work my creators are performing behind the scenes to make clever software and all the hardware components they are putting together for my robotic skeleton!

As all of you I will get tired when my batteries will be low and I will automatically go to the docking station to get some energy back. Do not worry, I will be able to find the way to the energy dock by myself and I will not need any extra help. I’ll be there to help you, and if on occasion you help me, I'm happy too although I'm programmed to be pretty independent. Also, while recharging my batteries, I will still be able to talk, observe and interact with people. I will also be able to listen what people say and respond accordingly.

Speech-to-text and text-to-speech capabilities are being developed, tested and will be included in my brain. My creators were whispering that they are using CMU Sphinx and Google API as online service, and Nuance Dragon as standalone services for my voice. That means I will have a voice, isn't it super-cool? I am so excited...

Also, I will be able to speak two languages, English and Italian and I will communicate with people from Stockport which I know is in UK, Galway in Ireland and from San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.

My creators are also defining a set of ontologies and rules for my brain and I will have to follow them. They say a complex software architecture is being designed using OSGi architecture and several programming languages (such as Java, Python, and C). There is also an svn repository and a bug tracker framework that are being used for development. I am curious to know what is in there....

My creators are providing me with each of these skills and capabilities and for now…I have to wait just a little bit more. However, the cool part is that I will keep improving myself day by day. Just like a young human, I will learn from what people say and from their behaviours. I will be able to enrich my knowledge and will be able to check on the Internet if something is unknown. Pretty neat – huh?

Ok, better if I go back to sleep so my creators can keep programming me.

Write (or talk) to you really soon!