February 9, 2011 weblog
Affetto: a realistic robot baby is looking at you (w/ Video)
(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 facial expressions in order to allow humans to interact with the robot 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 human intelligence through the use of robotics.
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.
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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