How to Create a Watson-powered robot with Humix

Humix is an open source robot framework based on Bluemix, IoT Foundation and Watson Artificial intelligence that makes it easy to bridge cloud APIs with hardware sensors or devices. Combining with Watson APIs, the framework helps everyone from kids to experienced developers to build their own cloud-brained robots with just a few clicks.

It all started from a hackathon event where a team of developers build a paper robot that could sense the sentiment of a conversation. And then with IBM’s IoT Foundation, Bluemix runtime, and Watson cognitive services, they found that building an intelligent, cloud-brained robot with basic conversation was not that difficult as it sounds.

People get crazy ideas about what they would want a robot to do. The goal of Humix is to let you bring those crazy ideas to life! This motivation convinced them to move the Humix idea from a hackathon prototype into a project that could be enhanced and improved. And now it’s an open source project by IBM.

How to Create a Watson-powered robot with Humix

Humix (HUmanity & blueMIX) uses the best part of IBM cloud offerings as a software skeleton for building an intelligent robot system. It consists of two major components. They are:

  1. Humix Think
  2. Humix Sense

Humix Think is the brain on the cloud that embeds a Node-RED flow editor for the design of the robot’s logic and behavior. Node-RED provides a drag and drop environment for building the application’s logic. You don’t need to be a super coder, you just need to have great logics and that’s exactly what Node-RED is useful for.


On top of Node-RED, a few new nodes are added to support Humix’s modular programming model as well as to make it easier to connect with commonly used messaging channels like Facebook and Twitter.


Humix Sense is located on the physical robot system. It provides a local messaging framework for all registered Humix modules to send sensor events and to receive the commands. Humix Sense monitors the local messaging bus and selects and delivers proper messages to the cloud for further processing.

Humix Features:

Communication Channel

  • IRC(input/output)
  • Facebook messenger(input/output).
  • Speech-to-Text (input)
  • Text-to-Speech (output)
  • Supports English and Chinese languages.


  • Report current temperature
  • Report current humidity
  • shadow mode: Heart-rate sync with owner
  • wake up or sleep triggered by NFC

Instinctive Behavior

  • Close the eye when the environment is too bright.
  • The eye will enable idle mode when no activity is done.

Cognitive Computing

  • Monitors the message received from Facebook (comments or Cognitive messenger), turns eye color to green if received positive message, otherwise turns the eye to blue.
  • How old am I: when asked for age from messenger, humix will take a picture and reports the estimated age of the people in the picture.

Developers don’t need to worry about building connectivity functionality, as by using Humix they can focus on the module’s unique logic avoiding extra efforts for building common connectivity functionality. It does all the heavy-lifting work that put the underlying technologies together to create an environment where people can immediately focus on the conversation logic of the robot. This feature makes Humix an extensible modular platform that can be enhanced incrementally.

There are many Humix modules readily available, which the developers can use to save their time in building common things. The current Humix framework comes with a very useful module called as  ‘humix-dialog-module’. This module uses the Watson Speech recognition capability to support basic oral interaction with the robot.

Humix can be used to quickly build robots backed by cloud-brain architecture which can be applied in commercial domains like banks, railways, hotels, airports, etc. This helps the businesses to speed up the interactions with their customers and that would be a huge plus point for them if they’d succeed in doing that.