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Robot Roundup

July 24, 2009

A new generation of robots can recognize and mimic human facial expressions.


Giving robots a face-lift. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Babies refine their facial expressions by mimicking people around them. At the University of California, San Diego, researchers are trying to get an Albert Einstein robot to do the same. It’s face is equipped with thirty tiny motors that control artificial facial muscles. Software allows the face to imitate the expressions of real humans sitting across from it. So far, the robo-Einstein is able to show surprise and sadness. The goal is not only making robots act more human, but also learning how human expressions evolved.

In other robot news, scientists at North Carolina State University are developing small flying robots based on bats. They say the bat’s flying style is ideal for maneuvering in tight places, and is also helping them better understand the aerodynamics of flapping flight. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

Watch the Einstein robot go through its paces: