Robot Baby Diego-San Shows Its Expressive Face on Video

Diego-san robot baby

His name is Diego-san. He was born at UCSD. He's a baby robot. We had seen photos of him before, and we knew researchers were working hard to get it moving and doing other things that babies do. Now, for the first time, Diego-san shows off its face on video.

Researchers at UCSD's Machine Perception Laboratory, led by professor Javier Movellan, developed Diego-san to study cognitive and social development in infants. The humanoid robot is modeled after a 1-year-old baby, with its body built by Japanese animatronic company Kokoro and its head created by U.S. firm Hanson Robotics, specialized in ultra-realistic humanoid robots.

The head is large to accommodate all the hardware that powers its expressive face, including 18 electric RC servos, which can make the robot display emotions such as happiness, anger, or surprise.

Diego-san weighs 30 kg (66 lb) and is over 1.2 m (4 ft) tall. It's equipped with two cameras, two microphones, inertial measurement units, 38 potentiometers, and 88 pressure sensors. Its body has 44 pneumatic actuators, powered by an an external air compressor.

With head and body combined, Diego-san has a total of 62 degrees of freedom, which is one of the biggest DOF numbers I've ever seen in a humanoid robot. The UCSD team is now working on the robot's software. The goal is to allow the humanoid to learn how to control its own body and interact with people.

Personally, I think that Diego-san looks really cool and not creepy at all. But I know most people would disagree. The robot ranks No. 1 in the creepiest robots ranking of IEEE Spectrum's Robots for iPad app (see screenshot below). What do you think? Cute or creepy?

Robots for iPad app

Via [ Gizmag ]

Photo: Andrew Oh/Javier Movellan/Calit2

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