Humanoid robot can read facial expressions and interact with people

A humanoid robot named Han, equipped with pattern recognition software, is able to recognise and interact with the person in front of it.

The lifelike humanoid robot, designed by Hanson Robotics, was introduced to the world at the Global Sources Electronics Fair in Hong Kong, ending on Tuesday, and is the newest addition to the Hanson robot family.

Although Han can also react as the controller commands it via a mobile phone to make facial expressions, the patterned recognition software coupled with an array of cameras in its eyes and chest allow it, for instance, to identify a person’s eyes and maintain eye contact or read human facial expressions and respond with a variety of its own.

“These robots actually see your face, make eye contact with you, and understand speech to engage you in witty dialogue,” said the company on its website. “These breakthrough technologies in artificial intelligence and humanlike gestures create the impression that the robots are truly aware and caring.”

According to Hanson Robotics the robot’s skin is made out of their patented material Frubber – flesh rubber – an elastic polymer that mimics human skin, and controlled by 40 motors behind its face, which make subtle movements to adjust Han’s skin. The robot’s head is mounted on a clear stationary body.

Han can answer simple questions and the firm said it can be used in certain situations that don’t necessarily require a human such as hotel reception desks or at a museum. “Our robots are ready to serve in retail, tradeshows, restaurants, theme parks, fine arts, research robotics, and even consumer products,” it said.

According to Reuters news agency, Hanson Robotics will be commercialising its systems in female robot Eva, rather than Han, which will be going into production later this year.

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