European researchers have developed a robot they say is the first able to display and detect emotions and react to being treated kindly.
The humanoid robot, called Nao, can detect human emotions through non-verbal clues such as body-language and facial expressions and gets better at reading a person’s mood through prolonged interaction, Britain’s Daily Telegraph reported Monday.
With a “brain” designed to mirror the neural network of the human mind, it can remember its interactions with different people and memorize faces.
With video cameras to see how close a person comes and sensors to detect out how tactile they are, Nao uses a programmed set of rules about what is “good” and “bad” for it and can indicate whether it is “sad” or “happy” by shrugging its shoulders or raising its arms for a hug.
The actions used to display each emotion are programmed, the scientists say, but Nao decides which feeling to display, and when.
“We’re modeling the first years of life,” Lola Canamero of the University of Hertfordshire said.
“We are working on non-verbal cues and the emotions are revealed through physical postures, gestures and movements of the body rather than facial or verbal expression.
“If people can behave naturally around their robot companions, robots will be better-accepted as they become more common in our lives,” she said.