Baby Robot Affetto Gets Human Facial Expressions
Japanese engineers from Osaka University have developed a new robot Affetto, designed to make a limited number of realistic human facial expressions. This allows humans to interact with the robot in more natural way.
Initially when this was designed, attempts were made to study the interaction between child robots and people, with a focus on social development but most of those attempts have been less than successful because the robots lacked a realistic appearance and the ability to share feelings non-verbally. This prevented the caregivers in previous studies from attending to their robot babies in a matter similar to human babies.
Like Us on Facebook
After almost a year Affetto baby finally gets a torso and also has a pair of arms to go along with it. Among the improvements made to the Affetto infant robot include 20 pneumatic actuators which will help him move his arms, neck, and spine freely.
Currently, this project would fall under the umbrella of "cognitive developmental robotics," which will involve the field of robotics to study human development.
According to Osaka University laboratory's site, Affetto can be seen "interacting with the environment and people nearby is an important factor in development. In order to create the same conditions as with a real child, we're developing a child robot that's the same size, with a soft body, rich facial expressions, and small hands."
Video footage of the robot can be found on YouTube, although those hoping to view it should be aware it might be slightly creepy to see this mechanical-baby in full motion!