We've seen Nao the robot before, both as a homemaker and a darn good dancer. Now, the little 'bot is learning a new trick: being able to approximate the emotions of a human child to better interact with people.
Nao doesn't have a face of its own to display emotional gestures — in fact, it pretty much looks perpetually surprised with that small mouth — but it can slump its shoulders when its "sad" or emote enthusiastically when "excited."
Nao decides what the appropriate emotional response is based on what's going on with the humans around it. Its camera eyes will not only analyze body language, but it can also tell where someone is looking, and can memorize different faces to respond to others in a unique manner.
The researchers behind Nao estimate that the 'bot simulates the emotional depth of a one-year-old child, meaning that most of what it does right now is react. Still, that's more than enough to make it valuable in fields such as caring for the elderly — a job that robots are looking more and more qualified for. A robot could give an elderly person 24 hours a day, any time and for as long as they want.
Via The Guardian