Dr. Nikolaos Mavridis founded, headed and directed the Interactive Robots and Media Lab of the University of UAE, which developed a robot called Sarah the Facebot. Their aim was to create more meaningful, long-term relationship with people by using references to shared memories and impart it to friends through discussions.
Sarah is the first robot prototype of this kind. It can detect and recognize faces. It synthesizes speech and speaks basic dialogues. To keep it updated about social networks, Sarah is equipped with real time connection to the social networking giant Facebook. Sarah retrieves all the information, gathers friends and their statuses, and automatically updates the information gathered.
As an award, Sarah was funded by Microsoft as one of their eight projects that Microsoft’s HRI CFP will fund. Only eight out of 74 were chosen by Microsoft.