Research NewsRobotics

Putting a Human Face on a New Breed of Robot

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Science  11 Oct 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5285, pp. 182
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5285.182


Tokyo--From the robot C-3PO of Star Wars fame to the android Data from the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, people have dreamed of computers with human faces and feelings. Although getting machines to feel emotions is still out of reach, researchers at the Science University of Tokyo are developing a robot that can do the next best thing: recognize and display facial expressions. The robot looks much like a Japanese female mannequin, with a rubberized face and a shock of natural black hair. A computer hooked up to it can determine a displayed expression within 60 milliseconds by comparing the differences in position of facial features against stored templates for various expressions.