Robots are becoming more and more mainstream, thanks to large tech companies like Google jumping onto the robotics bandwagon. Combine that with improved artificial intelligence that can do everything from recognizing our faces to giving a TED talk, and it's a certainty that humans will be interacting with robots regularly in the near future. That’s exactly what SociBot-Mini is designed to do: interact with us in a social way.
SociBot-Mini has a transparent display for its face that has a real face projected onto it. This can be any face: from a generic computer generated image, to the face of your best friend (because that’s not creepy at all). It uses a camera with depth perception, much like Microsoft’s Kinect, and can recognize gestures. Its webcam also recognizes faces, thanks to its special software. It can not only read the lines on your face and determine your age, but it can also detect your facial expressions and accurately judge your mood, allowing it to interact in an intelligent way with you. And if you get up to walk around, SociBot-Mini’s eyes will follow you around the room.
If you can get over the creep factor (good luck with that), the idea of a personal assistant robot is an interesting one. Something like SociBot-Mini would be great in a setting where public information is needed. Imagine going to the airport to check-in and being greeted by a smiling robot, rather than an overstressed airline employee. Or what about going to a library and asking a robot help you find the book you’re seeking? The possibilities for this technology are endless.
SociBot-Mini can also be used as a telepresence robot. Can’t make it to that meeting at the office? Just upload your face to the robot and let it sit in for you as you speak to your co-workers from home. So if you’ve got $16,000 and nothing better to do with it, you might as well buy your own SociBot-Mini, right? If anything, you can always use it to freak out your friends and family.
Via New Scientist