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Saturday, February 10, 2024

A Companion Robotic That May Wish to Damage You

For the uninitiated, GLaDOS, the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Working System, is an iconic character from the critically acclaimed online game sequence Portal, developed by Valve. Initially launched because the central antagonist within the unique Portal recreation launched in 2007, GLaDOS rapidly grew to become one in every of gaming’s most memorable and chilling villains. Created by Aperture Science, she serves because the controlling intelligence behind the Aperture Science Enrichment Heart, the place gamers navigate a sequence of take a look at chambers armed solely with a portal gun.

What makes GLaDOS significantly intriguing is her advanced character, which blends a chilly, calculating demeanor with darkish humor and occasional hints of vulnerability. Voiced with sinister allure, GLaDOS’s dialogue is laced with sarcasm and veiled threats, making her interactions with the participant each unnerving and charming. Her distinct robotic voice and memorable strains, similar to “The cake is a lie,” have grow to be synonymous with the Portal franchise.

A villainous robotic like GLaDOS would possibly seem to be an odd selection for a companion, however I suppose isolation could make an individual do some unusual issues. That was the case for {hardware} hacker and YouTuber Dave Niewinski, anyway, who got here down with COVID not too long ago and needed to preserve to himself for some time. Throughout that point, he determined to construct a practical clone of GLaDOS to maintain him firm. And we’re glad he did — the interactive animatronic robotic is powered by AI to make it a great companion, even when it might be secretly bent on his destruction.

There are various items to a undertaking like this, however getting the voice proper is maybe an important think about making a convincing reproduction of GLaDOS. Niewinski did a fast survey of pre-built voice mills that search to duplicate GLaDOS’s voice, however discovered all of them to be missing, so a customized resolution was wanted. He discovered that Valve has numerous audio clips of GLaDOS talking on their web site, which made it straightforward to gather a dataset of over an hour in size.

This dataset was leveraged to coach a pair of machine studying fashions. The primary is a spectrogram generator known as Fastpitch, which was fine-tuned to sound extra like GLaDOS’s voice. The outcomes have been shut, however not fairly proper, so one other mannequin, known as a vocoder, was additionally skilled to sound just like the goal voice and additional course of the outcomes. This mix of fashions produced a fairly convincing GLaDOS voice.

These networks have been then loaded into NVIDIA’s Riva AI software program growth equipment to make them straightforward to entry over a community. As an additional benefit, Riva additionally equipped speech-to-text capabilities that allowed folks to additionally discuss to the robotic. The textual content generated by this pipeline is fed right into a locally-running massive language mannequin, and the outcomes it produces are then fed into the GLaDOS voice generator for a spoken response.

The fashions all ran domestically on a Forge Provider Board for the highly effective but small NVIDIA Jetson AGX Orin pc module. This little beast of a pc even had sufficient processing energy left over to regulate a Unitree Z1 robotic arm that served as the bottom of the robotic. The rest of GLaDOS’s physique consisted of 3D-printed components and a few RGB LEDs. As a of entirety, to provide the robotic extra character, a Stereolabs ZED 2i depth digicam was included within the construct. This fed knowledge into an individual monitoring algorithm (sure, additionally working on the Jetson AGX Orin), and moved the Z1 robotic arm to maintain GLaDOS “trying” on the particular person it was speaking to.

That is actually a incredible construct. It’s a very convincing clone of GLaDOS and has a whole lot of character. It does have one drawback, nonetheless. The 3D-printed components are a bit too heavy for the robotic arm, inflicting the motors to overheat over time. Maybe Niewinski can right this drawback after getting over his sickness.

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