tech

Robot expresses human emotions

20 Comments

A humanoid robot called KOBIAN that can express seven emotions using bodily gestures was unveiled this week at Waseda University. KOBIAN was invented by Professor Atsuo Takanishi and others of Waseda University's Graduate School of Advanced Science and Engineering in a joint effort with tmsuk Co, Ltd, a robot venture in Kita-Kyushu City.

KOBIAN has several motors embedded in his face, which are programmed with movements that communicate emotion. KOBIAN can raise both hands and open its eyes wide to express surprise, look down and gesture as if crying to express sadness, and bring its hands forward or look away to express disgust.

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Why is it modeled after Rosie from "the Jetsons"?

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Don't any of these scientists read Science Fiction? The last think anyone needs is a robot with emotion. We've seen too many of the dark things warned in SciFi come true. I wish we could move forward with wonderful technology while being aware of the potential dangers.

Plus already most train stations have replaced the busy kiosk oba-chan's with coin machines. I'm not a fan of robots because I see to many jobs being replaced by them. For Japan we keep hearing about robots to care for the nation's aging population. Yet around the world there are young people growing up with no hope for a career or stable future. Wouldn't it be better if we educated and trained those young, living, breathing human beings to fill those jobs. People who can listen, show real emotions and form tangible bonds with the people they care for?

Less robots and machines, more human jobs for people who need to make a living. Let's save the robots for things humans cannot do for now, like deep space exploration etc...

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wow... I first thought it a was a Kano-sister just by the thumbnail...

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A humanoid robot called KOBIAN that can express seven emotions using bodily gestures was unveiled this week at Waseda University.

Wrong!!! The robot simulates seven human emotions by running through a series of commands. - So what!!! What is their goal with this technology? To replace the mood ring of the seventies?

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Tknoid2, It can express emotions, but it doesn't have them. A big difference

Disillusioned, 'express', 'simulate' - same difference. What's the goal? People are big on reading expressions. Those who can't read faces are seriously handicapped. Think of this robot not in terms of mood rings, but of emoticons you put in your email ;)

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I could really do with KOBIAN in my classrooms at university. Expresses emotions!!!

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wow... I first thought it a was a Kano-sister just by the thumbnail...

Haha, I bet Kyoko Kano would have to imbed some motors in her face to communicate emotions at this point.

Seven emotions, that's five and a half more than the average Japanese person can be bothered to express, so I guess they are building these robots to show schoolkids in 2020 what a full range of emotions looked like back in the olden days.

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Why is it making a "helllllo thailor" expresion though?

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That particular expression shown in the photo is a touch on the feminine side. Congrats Waseda University on the advancement! Keep 'em coming!

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I saw a recent documentary about robotics which showed a robot specifically designed to express emotions by facial movement. It looked a lot like one of the creatures from "Gremlins". As I recall, it was programmed to recognise emotions in speech and react accordingly. That would make it considerably more advanced than Kobian. Artifical Intelligence still has a long way to go. Programmed behaviour is interesting, but what's needed is an ability to interact effectively with humans. Kobian seems to have spawned a lot of articles on web, so I guess a lot of people are excited about it.

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Excellent, this robot is super-camp!

tkoind2, you been watching too much Terminator?

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This is so uncool: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FBUt336wBI

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From the pose in the picture, I hereby dub thee "1970s Flaming Gay Stereotype Bot"

I know, that's a a mouthful, but so is he!

Oooo-errr!!!

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or... "Emoti-Camp Bot:2009"

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maybe it just expresses japanese emotions...which don't actually exist

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Could be interesting, for several purposes. For example to research what it is that makes people able to recognize emotions in others. But for that purpose - and indeed for most other purposes I can think of, short of standing in for an extrovert anime character in a school play - it seems they've overdone it by a long way.

Surprise? Opening up the eyes may be right, but keep the hands down.

Disgust? I don't know exactly what happens, but some slight movement of the facial muscles.

Sadness? If it implies dousing your hands with tears, the world must generally be an exceptionally happy place.

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Surprise, disgust, and sadness?! I think KOBIAN is ready to start posting on JT.

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So in fact the future robots will be making expressions like French people to French-Canadians to also some regular Canadians. You see the above tend to use their arms or hands to facial expressions with many words. I know for sometime I find myself doing the above yet Cdn born only from Cdn parents to grand-parents from North Ireland, Germany, France to Holland.

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Different cultures have different ways of expressing emotion. When an American is embarrassed, his face turns red, but a Japanese person smiles and puts one of their hands behind their head. When they can program the robot to respond on a multicultural level, that will be an accomplishment worth writing about.

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When an American is embarrassed, his face turns red, but a Japanese person smiles and puts one of their hands behind their head.

I think the turning red thing is pretty universal. Although it's not very visible on people with darker skin, they still have blood rushing to their face when embarrassed. Most embarrassed people I see, in Japan or the US, simply turn away with a nervous smile or turn away looking somewhere between pissed and worried. As for reacting in a multicultural way, I would consider that robot Japanese. I doubt it would be hard at all to program some alternate movements for whatever culture they are in.

In any case, this is a great tech demo demonstrating how a robot will be able to interact with a person at a more comfortable level. Think about it, it's easier to talk to a robot that at least resembles a human than to talk to a box.

I am looking forward to robots making me lazier in the future! In fact, I program robots for a living... Nothing human-like, but they get the job done. Jobs that I surely don't want to do myself.

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