SociBot-Mini: a spooky robot that wears any face

Mar 30, 2014
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SociBot-Mini: a spooky robot that wears any face

SociBot-Mini is a 60-centimetre-high bot that can adorn a friend’s face and even predict your mood or guess your age. Spooked? The brainchild of Will Jackson and his colleagues at Engineered Arts in Penryn, UK, the robot has many human features like a transparent plastic face, nose contours, mouth and eyes. Most of these features are highlighted due to the backlighting which is enhanced with a digital projector.

Thanks to the transparent face, a generic face or customized one (friend or relative) can be projected, giving it a humanoid feel. To capture and recognize gestures, the robot uses a depth-sensing camera and it can capture facial expressions via a webcam.

As of now, the robot has a very limited understanding of speech. The software that it uses allows it to hold limited conversations.

According to Jackson, the robot is a good addition to telecommuting with colleagues. It may take a while to get used to holding a conversation with a robot, but with time, it is something that we may get used to. Still, though purported to be ‘robotic butler’ that has the potential to know you inside out, the SociMini Bot has a long way to go in terms of graphics and its refinements.

One area where the robot is expected to particularly excel is in videoconferencing, where it bring in a 3D experience to the interaction, and removes the monotony of 2D. After those refinements are made, the makers hope to turn to the public for support. Yes, a crowd funding appeal is on the cards for a slimmer, lighter home version.

SOURCE Investor Spot


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