MANILA, Philippines — Kris Aquino, the “Queen of all media” and presidential sister showed to the public the other day her latest prized possession: the Philippines’ first ever robotic child actor named B1MB33.
Introduced alongside child actress Ryzza Mae Dizon to announce their movie entry for this year’s Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) , the Bionic One Moppet Barnstormer v33 (B1MB33) showed true potential of becoming a true star following every command that its owner barks.
Reacting to various voice commands from Kris Aquino, such as “Please sit down” as well as “Please stop that” when it started to fidget during an interview (watch here), the robot appeared to have little to no free will.
Also noticeable is the robot’s eerily striking resemblance to its owner’s son , James Yap Jr. who tagged along with her mom during taping of the Ryzza Mae Show.
The robotic child actor can also play various audio clips on cue that its owner has pre-recorded as seen when Kris asked what it thinks of the child actress.
“She’s super?” asked the robot’s owner. “She’s super great,” replied the robot.
Not satisfied with the humanoid’s response, she quickly corrected it by saying, “She’s super cute, right?”
All this was happening while her son was backstage playing and conversing with other people freely like any child should. Bimby was allowed to be playful and run around to his heart content; in stark contrast to B1MB33, whose owner was had her hands full controlling its every movement.
As state-of-the-art as it may look, the robotic child actor still has a few limitations that might hamper its road to success.
“For one, its voice command is limited to English,” explained B1MB33’s inventor, Dr. J. Carlos Agravante. “That is why Kris had to translate every word that Ryzza Mae was saying.”
The robot noticeably lags occasionally as well, especially when it failed to respond to Ryzza’s questions when she asked the robot if it could sing; prompting Aling Maliit to say, “Bimby, pansinin mo naman ako.”
According to Dr. Agravante, B1MB33 also has limited mobility as it showed difficulty mimicking Ryzza’s “chacha” dance as well as the owner’s constant adjustment on the angle of the robot’s face during a pictorial for the movie.
This limited mobility also became the deciding factor that this robot didn’t become the Philippines’ first ever robotic basketball player.
“Maybe by version 80, he can be just like his father,” the doctor said.