Robots with Human Faces by David Hanson

Hanson Robotics, under the supervision of its chief scientists and robot designer David Hanson, presents robots with amazingly natural faces and integrated facial expressions mechanism. The Hanson’s robots can analyze opponent’s facial expression and human speech, react adequately, express the emotions and keep the conversation. Robots can also feel what people in front are feeling by recognizing their facial expressions and reacting appropriately.  They are equipped with a mechanism that allows for naturally expressing wide range of human-like emotions. The key in the technology is the specially developed rubber material called Frubber (a combination of words “face” and “rubber”) – a lightweight polymer plastic that looks like a natural skin.

Frubber allows for emulating the human flesh and biological soft tissues. It is inspired by natural cellular structure using lipid bilayer techniques – the way human cells are actually made. With Frubber, Hanson Robotics can reproduce the cellular structure of human face down to the macromolecular scale, the nanometer scale with a hierarchical pore structure. This advanced technology makes the human-like robots to have a human-like skin. Frubber is a very low-density material, and it takes very low energy to move into facial expressions. The movement of the faces is implemented by means of anchors located in the Frubber which are connected to special small motors responsible for the facial expressions. Hanson robot’s expressions are so much alike human facial expressions as if hundreds of muscles are involved in them. The robots produced by Hanson Robotics are currently used worldwide – the University of Cambridge, University of Geneva, University of Pisa – in cognitive science research and artificial intelligence research, also for research of intersection and interaction between the human and the machine. Human-like robots are currently available for the high-end research laboratories but they are supposed to be available in the market too. For regular users, Hanson Robotics offers walking androids, controlled by the cognitive software so they can interact with the human. Robots researcher David Hanson hopes that his robots will be humanized and used in educational and medical purposes, such as autism treatments. David Hanson is sure that natural looking robots will enable fast communication of robots and human and will better integrate robots in the human society. In the future, company is planning to create animal and human like other robots and enrich them with the advanced cognitive capabilities to develop relations between the robots and humans and among robots themselves.


source: www.earthsky.org