Innovative New Robot Smiles When You Smile
2010-04-08 0:00

By David Bois |

Japanese researchers develop a machine capable of astonishingly realistic facial expressions.

There is, in all likelihood, a firm limit of two reactions that one can possibly have to a robotics development coming out of Japan’s Osaka University. You’re certain to find it either to be super cool, or indescribably creepy. Researchers assure the public that their innovation is testing well in hospital settings as a method for calming and reassuring patients in their care. Well, we will invite you to be the judge, but I for one would love to read the details of that particular study.

Presenting: Geminoid TMF. AFP reports that the remarkably realistic humanoid robot mimics the full spectrum of human facial expressions. Through electronic signals it receives from an actual human, Geminoid TMF changes the expression on its face as its human counterpart does the same. Last year, Tonic wrote of developments at The University of California San Diego, where researchers have constructed a robot resembling Albert Einstein who, through an iterative process, learns and remembers various expressions, associating with each expression specific meanings and associations. It’s quite impressive indeed, particularly in light of robo-Al not receiving direct expression cues and signals in real time, but we’re not sure that he’d be quite the hit on the cardiac ward compared to Geminoid TMF.

In a recent demonstration, a clip of which is included below, Geminoid TMF simultaneously smiled, gave toothy grins, and blinked right along with its human counterpart, who remarked to media on hand to observe the demonstration: "I felt like I had a twin sister."

While no time frame is announced for bringing Geminoid TMF to the market, the creators envision a price tag of approximately $100,000 US, and they are anticipating their potential customers to mostly come from the robotics research sector.

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