JUL 20, 2018 12:55 PM PDT

Emotional Robot

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

A prototype of a robot was created by Cornell University research scientists that is capable of expressing “emotions” through visible changes on its outer surface. These changes are based on “robot skin” that covers a grid-like of shaped texture units that change depending on the robot's feelings.

The robot prototype expresses its "anger" with both its eyes and its skin, which turns spiky through fluidic actuators that are inflated under its skin, based on its "mood." Credit: Lindsay France/University Photography via Science Daily

A lecture titled "Robots with 'soul'", by assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering Guy Hoffman, explains that a robot capable of communicating nonverbal cues through its outer covering (skin) was inspired by animals which supports the notion that robots should not be thought of in human terms. "I've always felt that robots shouldn't just be modeled after humans or be copies of humans," explains Hoffman. "We have a lot of interesting relationships with other species. Robots could be thought of as one of those 'other species,' not trying to copy what we do but interacting with us with their own language, tapping into our own instincts."

The studies on emotional robots, by lead author and doctoral student Yuhan Hu, was examined in a paper titled "Soft Skin Texture Modulation for Social Robots” where it was presented at the International Conference on Soft Robotics in Livorno, Italy. The paper was also featured as a publication of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

The design by Hoffman and Hu exhibits an array of two shapes consisting of goosebumps and spikes that map to varying states of emotion. These shapes actuation units are built into texture modules and integrated with fluidic chambers connecting bumps of the same type. Furthermore, the research team investigated two different actuation control systems that include features capable of minimizing size and noise level.

"One of the challenges," Hoffman said, "is that a lot of shape-changing technologies are quite loud, due to the pumps involved, and these make them also quite bulky."

There is no specific application for the emotional robot designed by Hoffman. However, it can pave the road of inspiration to continue advancing robotic machines. "It's really just giving us another way to think about how robots could be designed," says Hoffman. But, prospective obstacles of developing an emotional robot include the need of technology scaling. "At the moment, most social robots express [their] internal state only by using facial expressions and gestures," the paper concludes. "We believe that the integration of a texture-changing skin, combining both haptic [feel] and visual modalities, can thus significantly enhance the expressive spectrum of robots for social interaction."

Source: Science Daily 

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
You May Also Like
APR 22, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
New Method To Fast Track Drug Development
APR 22, 2021
New Method To Fast Track Drug Development
The time it takes to respond to disease outbreaks is critical. But designing drugs to combat these disease outbreaks is ...
MAY 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter Completes Its First One-Way Trip on Mars
MAY 09, 2021
NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter Completes Its First One-Way Trip on Mars
NASA sent the Perseverance rover to Mars loaded with cutting edge technology, one piece of which is a robotic helicopter ...
MAY 19, 2021
Technology
Nanobodies May Help Prevent Overactivation of the Immune System in COVID-19 Infections
MAY 19, 2021
Nanobodies May Help Prevent Overactivation of the Immune System in COVID-19 Infections
Attempts to understand the SARS-CoV-2 virus have focused on a key mechanism of action: the use of a “spike pr ...
JUN 28, 2021
Cardiology
The Electricity of a Beating Heart is Caught on Graphene Camera
JUN 28, 2021
The Electricity of a Beating Heart is Caught on Graphene Camera
When graphene was first developed, it was hailed as a revolutionary material but its potential uses seemed unclear to ma ...
JUL 16, 2021
Technology
Echocardiogram May Help Predict COVID-19 Patients at Risk for Heart Complications
JUL 16, 2021
Echocardiogram May Help Predict COVID-19 Patients at Risk for Heart Complications
Researchers learned early on in the pandemic that COVID-19 infections caused a range of complications throughout the bod ...
JUL 30, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Using Iron Waste to Clean Pesticides
JUL 30, 2021
Using Iron Waste to Clean Pesticides
Groundwater is something most people use every day. Whether for drinking, washing, or growing the food you eat, it is pa ...
Loading Comments...