Scientists develop a human-like robot with a smooth, expressive face and now with the details of the news
Thanks to its flexible face, scientists have developed a robotic head that matches the expressions of nearby humans in real-time. The autonomous robot, called Eva, uses deep learning, a form of artificial intelligence to read and then reflects expressions on human faces via a camera, and can Eva expresses the six basic emotions: anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, and surprise, as well as a range of more subtle reactions.
The artificial muscles, to be precise the cables and motors, pull specific points on Eva's face, to replicate the muscles under the skin. Scientists at Columbia University in New York say that human-like facial expressions on robots' faces can build trust between humans and their robotic colleagues and caregivers.
Most robots today have also been developed to replicate human abilities such as grasping, lifting, and moving from one place to another, perhaps the details that are lacking are human-like facial expressions. But Eva's bright blue face isn't, and it's inspired by the Blue Man Group, an American performing arts company that includes three blue-faced silent artists.
Hood Lipson, director of Columbia University's Creative Machines Lab said, Eva's idea crystallized a few years ago when my students and I began noticing that robots in our lab were staring at us through plastic eyes. It seems that people are humanizing their fellow robots by giving them eyes, an identity, or a name. This made us wonder, if eyes and clothes work, why not make a robot with a highly expressive and responsive human face?
The team used 3D printing to make the intricately shaped parts that seamlessly integrate with Eva's skull. The researchers then used a multi-stage training process to enable Eva to read and repeat the faces of nearby humans in real-time.