A group of students from the Department of Computer Engineering ABU Zaria, led by Aliyu Isah have developed ABUCEA v2 (ABU Computer Engineering Assistant). An intelligent personal robot that is capable of doing day-to-day tasks such as information search, sending emails, and relaxing.
This great was achieved during their Industrial Training period at the Control Laboratory of the Department under the supervision of Prof M.B. Muazu.
The invention of ABUCEA comes as the Department led by Professor Muhammad Bashir Mu’azu strives to provide regular and updated programs and courses in Computer Engineering of a standard required and expected of a Department in a University of the highest standing in order to produce graduates that are resourceful, creative, knowledgeable, Competitive and well skills in the computing world.
The aim of developing ABUCEA is to help in reducing the manual efforts being put by the workers of the university in their day-to-day tasks such as information search, sending emails, and relaxing.
According to ALIYU ISAH the project team lead, “Prof. Mu’azu guided us on the prevalence of interactions of humans with computers and smartphones. It is anticipated that social robots shall replace these computers and smartphones soon.
“We set out by developing ABUCEA v1 which is a voice-controlled AI personal assistant robot. This interaction through a voice Conversational User Interface is more friendly to humans. To achieve this, we use techniques in Natural Language Processing.” He said
“ABUCEA v1 robot responds with voice via its inbuilt speaker. It has the following features:
Information Search (Ask Questions and Receive Answers); It can move in any specified direction via its omnidirectional wheels, it stops when it sees obstacles on its path.” He added
“It can also carry out face emotion detection to determine the emotional state of the user (happy, sad, etc) via its inbuilt cameras through trained emotion detection neural networks; It responds appropriately with relevant jokes or music to help the users mode; It can carry out object detection to identify objects around it through pre-trained object detection modes; It can provide the latest news for the user, etc.” He concluded
The students were challenged by Prof M.B. Muazu to develop ABUCEA v2 which is an office assistant, after the team presented ABUCEA v1 to the 2ND International Conference of the IEEE.
Been developed for an office, the ABUCEA v2 does not move around. It was designed in the shape of the ABU Logo because it is designed for use in ABU offices. Only its “neck” moves to turn and face the direction it is spoken to from. The whole system is deployed on the latest raspberry pi 4 Linux computer as the brain of the robot.
The ABUCEA v2 has amazing features like Information Search (It is trained on information specific to the University); It can carry out face emotion detection to determine the emotional state of the user (happy, sad, etc) via its inbuilt cameras through trained emotion detection neural networks and responds appropriately with relevant jokes or music to help the users mode.
Other features include carrying out object detection to identify objects around it through pre-trained object detection modes; It can provide the latest news for the user; It can send emails to correspond recipient; It uses Rapidweather API’s to tell the current weather in any city; You can ask the robot anything and it will amaze you (if not inside the robot database, it can tell you to wait and search for your answers on the internet, wiki, etc) and many more features.
Who is ALIYU ISAH: the project team lead for ABUCEA
Aliyu Isah, the project team lead for the ABUCEA is a 500level final year student from the Department of Computer Engineering Ahmadu Bello University Zaria who is passionate about robotics and artificial intelligence. He is 25years old from Katsina state living in Bakori local government Area.
According to Isah, “I decided to invest my time to focus on the field of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence with my friend and a motivator GUDA BLESSED, also a final year Student from Department of Computer Engineering Federal University of Technology Minna during our I.T period.
“It was difficult for us at first, but we became better over time and some of the lecturers in the department saw the interest and encouraged us to put in more effort. The HOD, Prof. Mu’azu’s consistent mentorship was the driving engine of the whole work. The technical know-how of the Technologist Aliyu Isa Elayo was very supportive.