World’s First Bio-Robot Runs on i-Free Artificial Intelligence Technology

St. Petersburg, Russia, 21 October 2013. i-Free provided the Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology used in the world’s first bionic man, a bio-robot named Frank, created by the UK’s Shadow Robot Co. Thanks to i-Free’s Artificial Intelligence, the robot recognizes human speech and can easily converse with people. Frank can conduct meaningful conversations, and even has a sense of humor.

The Bionic Man is a revolutionary project that showcases the latest achievements in bionics and prosthetics. Frank was assembled with bionic parts replacing those parts and systems of the human body that are already in use in humans: limbs, skin, bones, and some, but not all, internal organs. 

The bionic man understands human speech and is able to talk, thanks to the Artificial Intelligence technology donated to the project by i-Free. All verbal commands and requests that Frank receives are processed remotely on i-Free’s platform; the robot’s responses are formed in the same way, and each incoming request takes only a split second to process.

i-Free has backed AI research and development for many years, viewing the topic as a priority for technology investment. The company hosts AINL (Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language), a desktop and field research conference, and is committed to embedding AI in its products and services. The technology is used extensively in i-Free’s family of mobile personal assistant applications, including “Voice Assistant in Russian” and “VoiceMaid”.

In 2011, i-Free acquired AI technology from inventor Vladimir Veselov, and enhanced the technology to the point that, in 2012, it won first prize in the Turing 100 AI Machines competition.

Shadow Robot Co, the creator of the bio-robot, asked i-Free to donate its Artificial Intelligence technology to the project, and i-Free agreed.

 “AI ideas and projects have always appealed to us here at i-Free – we have a strong commitment to exploring new fields where Artificial Intelligence products can make life easier for people,” said Egor Naumov, AI development leader at i-Free. “The importance of the world’s first bionic man cannot be overestimated. It’s a real breakthrough, a revolution in modern medical science. We are delighted that Frank’s creators chose our Artificial Intelligence solution for their project.”

The model for the first bionic man is Bertolt Meyer, a social psychologist from Germany who was born without a hand and uses a bionic prosthesis. The bionic man’s co-creator, Meyer also hosts the documentary The Incredible Bionic Man, which was aired on the Smithsonian Channel on October 20, 2013. The film chronicles the entire process of assembling the world’s first functioning bionic human body.

More information about the bionic man can be found on the Smithsonian channel website.


i-Free is a Russian innovation company that has operated in the CIS since 2001 and internationally since 2006. The company develops and implements cutting-edge solutions in mobile and NFC technology, electronic finance, digital content distribution, electronic payments and micropayments, applications for smartphones and new network devices, digital products for the B2C market, and B2B projects in mobile marketing.

i-Free has more than 750 employees and is headquartered in St Petersburg with a regional office in Moscow. Outside Russia, i-Free has offices in Kiev (Ukraine), Minsk (Belarus), Almaty (Kazakhstan), Mumbai (India), Beijing (China), and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The company’s products and services are available to consumers and businesses in more than 100 countries.

i-Free partners with the leading mobile operators in Russia and the CIS, with international mobile equipment vendors, banks, transnational brands, major media groups, publishers, and online resources.

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