Zeno "boy" robot: Let me introduce myself (w/ Video)

Aug 04, 2012 by Nancy Owano weblog

(Phys.org) -- Hanson Robotics is showing its new humanoid robot boy that belongs in its Robokind portfolio of robots, a 2012 reincarnation of its earlier cartoonlike Zeno boy but this time more humanoid with an array of gestures and eye movements. Made in China, the boy-like robot stands 27 inches tall. The most commanding feature of the new Zeno is its head, made out of what creator David Hanson calls Frubber. The material, as the word sound suggests in melding flesh with rubber, is a spongy, structured elastic polymer that can mimic facial movements, contracting and folding like human skin. The material is also described as biomimetic polymer.

Also contributing to its lifelike quality are its eye expressions and moving . Hanson has given the robot's eyes a pair of high-definition cameras for . The body has 37 degrees of movement, the most of a Hanson robot so far.

The “boy” was designed with an open source platform; the robot has an internal computer and advanced artificial intelligence. “As soon as possible,” according to Hanson, ”we will release a complete SDK for software development on any Robokind platform.”

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The robot introduces itself in an engaging presentation video, designed to engage investors to help Hanson bring it to market. It says that “I can provide autism therapy,” and it tells the world that it can also give courses.

The robot also makes a few announcements of company developments. Its sister Alice will soon be available, and, most notably, the new robot will be joined by a smaller crop of smaller robot “cousins” that will be less expensive. “I look forward to meeting them in a about a year,” says the robot in the video.

Observers note that such smaller cousins will be the way that the company can break into a wider mass market than can presently accommodate the high prices of Hanson’s high-end robots priced from $8500 to $14,750 and targeted for special robotics and psychology research. This price range represents different models of robots with different capabilities depending on what their research clients need—robots that can move but have expressionless faces, robots with expressive faces that cannot move, or robots that can do both.

For those who subscribe to the “uncanny” theory of human-like robots being disturbingly like their human companions, Hanson thinks otherwise and has founded his company’s future on the belief that humanoid robots will increasingly occupy a place in science.

He said humanoid robots cross-pollinate among the sciences, pushing boundaries of biology, cognitive science, and engineering. “We work to bring neuroscience, robotics, and the arts into a super-discipline of humanlike cognitive robotics.”

Explore further: Socially-assistive robots help kids with autism learn by providing personalized prompts

More information: hansonrobokind.com/the-robot/overview/

via IEEE

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User comments : 12

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pubwvj
Aug 04, 2012
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NeutronicallyRepulsive
Aug 04, 2012
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Shotgunfred
4.5 / 5 (2) Aug 04, 2012
They should make this look like a Thunderbird! And they should pay for better voice software, it sounds terrible!
dav_i
Aug 04, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
kembpell_porcenat
5 / 5 (5) Aug 04, 2012
if this is humanity's finest work of robotics,and AI, then we have a LONG, way to go. This looks terrible! Overpriced piece of scrap metal
jsdarkdestruction
2.3 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2012
made in china? wtf, outsourcing at its finest i guess. we make everything else over there.....
as for the robot, well, i dont see him taking over the world at the least. maybe if they made some military models that could make more of them......
Osiris1
1 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2012
Just do not make a muslim robot. He will smile at you and then try to cut off your head.
SleepTech
5 / 5 (1) Aug 05, 2012
They really think robots would be better at autism treatment than a real human being?
Shotgunfred
5 / 5 (1) Aug 05, 2012
It's a fad, they obviously went out of their way to make this a cheap as possible! You can getter better software for your laptop to interact with these days! Although I despise apple their new iphone seems slightly better at conversations than this!

The speaker on it's chest looks so cheap plasticy and tacky! This is why I suggested making it look like a puppet because it's motion is comical like that of the puppets in stingray/captain scarlet or Team America if you don't recall those! At least then it would have comedy value!
If they made one of Patrick Stewart that came out random one liners in midst conversation or whilst observing it's environment I'd be sold! Or Brian Blesses! A Robot King Jong il from team America would be excellent!
They should make it faceless, and have customisation options so it can look and sound however the customer wants!
This is a terrible product and presents an appalling standard of the robotics that can be achieved today!
Shotgunfred
Aug 05, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
alfie_null
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2012
if this is humanity's finest work of robotics,and AI, then we have a LONG, way to go. This looks terrible! Overpriced piece of scrap metal

Expensive

Noisy

Smokey

Unreliable

It'll never replace the horse.
Neurons_At_Work
5 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2012
Compared to a lot of the other advanced robots featured on this site over the last couple of years, this is...bad. Just...bad. No redeeming qualities I can find. I kept waiting for one of the little white nylon gears to strip or the tiny phonograph record to jam. Meh.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Aug 05, 2012
Is it just me or does that contraption sound like GLaDOS?
We're doomed.

Just do not make a muslim robot. He will smile at you and then try to cut off your head.

Is that somehow better than saying that they will be "praying for you" and then they go about burning you at the stake (or bombing you back into the stoneage)?

No redeeming qualities I can find.

It's cheap (for a full robot). And they'll always have the japanese market.
Tektrix
not rated yet Aug 05, 2012
That video is bad CGI, not a robot.
HealingMindN
not rated yet Aug 06, 2012
Imagine getting sent to Gitmo Bay. You find yourself getting strong armed by these sissified versions of Astro-boy...
Deathclock
1 / 5 (1) Aug 06, 2012
I hate it, but I hate it as I would hate a person, so it has a decent anthropomorphic quality... You can say that much about it at least.
HTK
Aug 06, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.