Affetto: a realistic robot baby is looking at you (w/ Video)

Feb 09, 2011 by Katie Gatto weblog
Image credit: Minoru Asada

(PhysOrg.com) -- Minoru Asada, a professor of Adaptive Machine Systems at Osaka University in Japan and head of the JST ERATO Asada Project, along with two of his colleagues; Hisashi Ishihara, a PhD candidate at Osaka University; and Yuichiro Yoshikawa, from the Dept. of Adaptive Machine Systems at Osaka University have developed a child-like robot platform called Affetto.

Affetto is designed to make a limited number of realistic human in order to allow humans to interact with the in a more natural way. The ultimate aim is a field that Prof. Asada has dubbed "cognitive developmental robotics". The research aims to better understand the development of through the use of robotics.

Image credit: Minoru Asada

The Affetto robot is designed to mimic the facial expressions of a young child, in the one to two year age range, and will be used to study the early stages of human social development.

Image credit: Minoru Asada

No specifics on future study design using Affetto have been released at this time, but this is not an entirely new area of research. Other attempts have been made to study the interaction between child robots and people, with a focus on social development, but most of those attempts have been less than successful because the robots lacked a realistic appearance and the ability to share feelings non-verbally. This prevented the caregivers in previous studies from attending to their robot babies in a matter similar to a human babies.

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Anyone interested in finding out more about Affetto's development process can look at the paper published by the researchers at the 28th Annual Conference of the Robotics Society of last year.

Explore further: Lockheed Martin conducts first fully autonomous robot mission

More information: * Japanese baby-bot to shed light on human learning (w/ Video)

via IEEE

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User comments : 8

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Kingsix
3 / 5 (2) Feb 09, 2011
Sounds like a made up reason for some Japanese scientists to attempt to make some more "cute" technology. I bet Affetto 2 will be anime style.
sstritt
3.4 / 5 (5) Feb 09, 2011
What is it with the Japanese and their obsession with creepy humanoid robots?
Yellowdart
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 09, 2011
Creepy. Instead of the blue man group it looks like the white baby horror picture show.
natetuvkok
1 / 5 (1) Feb 09, 2011
no shiate it is creepy
HealingMindN
2 / 5 (1) Feb 09, 2011
The only thing missing are dark circles under the eyes. Then you can put it in a haunted house where this head looks up at you from the bathtub.
DamienS
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 09, 2011
but most of those attempts have been less than successful because the robots lacked a realistic appearance and the ability to share feelings non-verbally

And the more realistic you make them look, but still lacking the spark of life, the creepier they become. Surely this 'creep-out factor' will affect any interaction results.
NickFun
5 / 5 (4) Feb 09, 2011
Of course, this technology is still in its infancy ;)
KAB
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2011
They're not being very clear with how this technology will benefit humans. The article says, "The research aims to better understand the development of human intelligence through the use of robotics"--this feels like an empty statement: the purpose is good, but how do life-imitation robots accomplish this? Robots can be useful to increase production in countless areas, but why do they need to be life like? It seems, to me, like a "look what we can do" technology.