he video: Most humanoid robots currently being tested in labs are emotionless, awkward machines. But not Mask-Bot. This new robot has a lifelike human face, created using computerized 3-D images projected onto a plastic visage. Mask-Bot uses a "talking mask animation engine" to convey emotions like humans do, using everything from blinks to raised eyebrows. (Watch a video below.) Researchers say Mask-Bot could revolutionize video conferencing (by projecting the face of a remote employee onto a plastic mold in the conference room), or provide comfort for elderly people with little human interaction.
The reaction: Even if Mask-Bot can deliver "visible emotional nuances," it's still a "creepy way to give robots realistic human faces," says Olivia Solon at Wired. But the "weirdest part," says Rebecca Boyle at Popular Science, "is the animation engine, which uses a database of facial emotion data that was previously collected using a motion-capture system." The robot uses that information to decide which facial expressions to use in which situations — or "perhaps just to personify Skynet once it becomes aware." See for yourself:
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The logic behind the world's 4 weirdest strategic reserves
- 5 books to read before your 30th birthday
- Is it possible to live forever?
- 6 photos that Facebook controversially banned
- What to expect when you're expecting (100 years ago)
The history of Santa Claus: 7 interesting facts
- Remembering Nelson Mandela: The world's front pages
- 7 health benefits of playing video games
- Do Republicans need a Plan B on ObamaCare?
Subscribe to the Week