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Meet the Mirokai, AI robots from another galaxy set to lend a helping hand in Paris hospitals

The Mirokai characters are from another galaxy
The Mirokai characters are from another galaxy Copyright ALAIN JOCARD/AFP
Copyright ALAIN JOCARD/AFP
By Luke Hurst
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Designed as "social logistics" robots, the Mirokai - who took VivaTech by storm - will first be tested out in hospitals in Paris.

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Robot characters from a galaxy millions of light-years away are here, to roll around, pick stuff up, and interact with us humans.

That’s the story behind the Mirokai, the friendly robots that enchanted crowds at this year’s VivaTech in Paris.

Queues of people waited for their chance to snag a selfie with the animé inspired creations of French robotics company Enchanted Tools, whose CEO Jérôme Monceaux co-created the previously prominent humanoid robots Nao and Pepper.

While Nao and Pepper were used as educational devices and receptionists respectively, the Mirokai are being billed as "social logistic" robots that will start off lending a hand in hospital settings.

"We announced at VivaTech a partnership with a French hospital, and next year we are going to open test floors in four hospitals in Paris and the robots will help nurses by bringing masks, medicine to them or to patients," explained Richard Malterre, the company’s chief communications officer.

What is marvelous for us is to bring some character robots to the world and showcase another vision of what robotics can be - more than just utility, but magic too.
Richard Malterre
Chief communications officer, Enchanted Tools

He told Euronews Next the robots had many layers of artificial intelligence (AI) built in; they can understand orders, learn where things and people are, and even tell people hospital opening and closing times.

"What is marvelous for us is to bring some character robots to the world and showcase another vision of what robotics can be - more than just utility, but magic too," he added.

It’s only been eight months since the first prototype was revealed, and while there is still a lot of development needed to flesh out the robots, they were without a doubt one of the biggest crowd-pleasers of VivaTech 2023.

Their cartoony yet uncannily alive faces, which are animated on a face-shaped screen, give them a genuinely friendly appearance that designers of humanoid robots have so far struggled to capture.

Enchanted Tools envision them operating in locations other than hospitals.

"As it’s a robot for social logistics, we can work in airports, retail, or maybe an expo like this. The fact it’s mounted on a sphere means it’s very agile, and it’s really dedicated to move among people".

Why cartoon characters from the other side of the universe? "We are sure that tech can bring magic, storytelling, and bring something more to the world by using it," said Malterre.

The company has big plans for the Mirokai. They want to have 100,000 of them amongst us in 10 years' time, with a target price of €30,000 per unit.

"We expect to be at the door of the factory at the end of next year," said Malterre, who explained how the company was ready to bring in more people and work with other companies to build the business case of the future. 

For more on this story, watch the video in the media player above.

Video editor • Roselyne Min

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