The Nigerian government has unveiled “Omeife,” Africa’s first humanoid, in an effort to advance technology advancement in Nigeria and throughout Africa. Omeife was unveiled in Abuja by Director General National Information Technology Development Agency NITDA Kashifu Inuwa, who was acting in place of Prof. Isa Ali Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, who was to represent Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
The Vice President asked other stakeholders to support the Omeife project and create new ones, noting that the federal government will assure the initiative’s success.
“We are living in an exciting time of advanced technological advancement, where the science fiction of yesterday are becoming the reality in products and services of today,”
Vanguard reports that Omeife, the first African humanoid robot was developed by the Uniccon Group led by Chucks Ekwueme. Explaining the features, Ekwueme said the humanoid has a real-time understanding of its surroundings, including active listening and the ability to focus on a specific conversation thread as it occurs.
Explaining the features, Ekwueme said the humanoid has a real-time understanding of its surroundings, including active listening and the ability to focus on a specific conversation thread as it occurs. He also noted that Omeife can speak eight languages besides English, including Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, French, Arabic, Kiswahili, Pidgin and Afrikaans, TechCabal reports. Speaking on whether Omeife can frown or show expressions of sadness.
“No, I don’t think we want it to do that even it is possible”
But he explained that what really underscores the Africanness built into Omeife is its ability to speak each language with a native accent, pitch and vocabulary, with detailed pronunciations of words, sentences and even phrases.
“African politeness values are also entrenched in their social interaction functions.”
Ekwueme also stated that Omeife pays attention to a specific person to keep the conversation alive and chooses its words carefully—sieves out words, phrases, sentences and expressions that are not polite in African cultures.
“This particular attribute makes it safe to interact with kids”
The CEO of Uniccon Group added that Omeife’s learning pipeline aids in improving and understanding new things from conversations as well as improving memory and comprehension of previous concepts with fresh information.
“Omeife also has terrain intelligence in that it knows its own ground level and stability on the floor, which helps it navigate on non-flat surfaces and maintain good balance. It also has a position awareness feature and a grip sensor that allows it to size, understand shape, and how to hold things with its hands.”