Saturday, February 14, 2009

High School Students to Experience Learning from Robot

Scientists at UC San Diego's California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) have equipped a robot modeled after Albert Einstein, the famed theoretical physicist, with specialized software that allows it to interact with humans in a relatively natural, conversational way. The so-called "Einstein Robot," which was designed by Hanson Robotics of Dallas, Texas, recognizes a number of human facial expressions and can respond accordingly. Scientists consider it an unparalleled tool for understanding how both robots and humans perceive emotion, as well as a potential platform for teaching, entertainment, fine arts and even cognitive therapy.

These robots still look pretty stilted and have jerky movements but remember their capabilities are doubling every 18 months or so. These robots are currently scientific instruments to learn something about human-robot interaction, as well as human-to-human interaction.

Evoking realistic facial expressions in a machine made of wires and gears is incredibly complex. For Einstein to crack a smile, 17 of the robot's 31 motors must whir into action and subtly adjust multiple points of articulation around his mouth and piercing brown eyes.

Click on the heading above to see a video about the Einstein robot.

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