Hisashi Ishihara, Yuichiro Yoshikawa, and Professor Minoru Asada of Osaka University in Japan have developed a new child robot platform called Affetto. Affetto can make realistic facial expressions so that humans can interact with it in a more natural way.
Professor Asada is the leader of the JST ERATO Asada Project and his team has been working on "cognitive developmental robotics," which aims to understand the development of human intelligence through the use of robots. (Learn more about the research that led to Affetto in this interview with Professor Asada.)
Affetto is modeled after a one- to two-year-old child and will be used to study the early stages of human social development. There have been earlier attempts to study the interaction between child robots and people and how that relates to social development, but the lack of realistic child appearance and facial expressions has hindered human-robot interaction, with caregivers not attending to the robot in a natural way.
Here are some of the expressions that Affetto can make to share its emotions with the caregiver.
The researchers presented a paper describing the development of Affetto's head at the 28th Annual Conference of the Robotics Society of Japan last year.
The video and photo below reveal the mechatronics inside Affetto. It might be a good idea not to show this to caregivers before they meet the robot—or ever.
This article appeared originally at GetRobo.
Norri Kageki is a journalist who writes about robots. She is originally from Tokyo and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is the publisher of GetRobo and also writes for various publications in the U.S. and Japan.