The Gemini was the most technically advanced of the personal robots available in 1985, with features that remain impressive today. It not only spoke but took voice commands. It was self-charging, and retained a map of your home for navigation purposes, a feature that was only introduced into the Roomba line in 2015, 13 years and 5 generations after its introduction. It could sing with synthesized piano accompaniment, recite poetry, and connect to early online services like CompuServe.
That’s quite amazing.
Gemini looks like it was created by someone who grew up on Daleks (maybe also partly Rosie the robot from the Jetsons) …but it wasn’t very useful, and its human-mimicry abilities would get old fairly quickly I imagine (I can make my mp3 player or PC speak to me, or my PC to understand voice commands …but I don’t, as long as there are more efficient means); it was basically an electronic companion device, doesn’t really do any work (and the word “robot” comes from word which means “work”) …but I prefer the company of my cat (she can even even open doors by herself – something that the Gemini could not do …though that ability is not always a good thing, I dismantled the handle to my bedroom )
Maybe robots which try to be in one way or another familiar to humans are largely a blind alley, reimplementing human “features” seems like not the best approach to many tasks – there’s nothing wrong with Roomba and its insect-like intelligence, it does the job, it’s actually useful; insects are among most succesfull organisms… (also, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BEAM_robotics & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insectoid )