Nao, the first robot able to feel emotions and form bonds with humans that look after it PDF Print E-mail
Technology - Robots and android humanoids
Nao, the first robot able to feel emotions and form bonds with humans that look after it
13th August 2010

The first robot capable of developing emotions and forming bonds with humans has been unveiled by scientists.

Nao has been designed to mimic the emotional skills of a one-year-old child and is capable of forming bonds with people who treat it kindly. The robot has been developed to use the same types of expressive and behavioural cues that babies use to learn to interact socially and emotionally with others.

University of Hertfordshire researcher Dr Lola Canamero with Nao, a robot that can show its emotions and form a bond with humans

It is able to detect human emotions by studying body-language and facial expressions and becomes better at reading someone's mood over time as it grows to 'know' the person. It is also able to remember its interactions with different people and memorise their faces.

Nao have been created through modelling the early attachment process that human and chimpanzee infants undergo when they are very young. It forms part of a European project called FEELIX Growing, that is being led by Lola Canamero, a computer scientis at the University of Hertfordshire.

'This behaviour is modelled on what a young child does,' said Dr CaƱamero. 'This is also very similar to the way chimpanzees and other non-human primates develop affective bonds with their caregivers.'

Nao is programmed to become particularly attached to an individual who interacts with the robot in a certain way that helps it to learn. It is capable of expressing anger, fear, sadness, happiness, excitement and pride and will get upset if the human fails to comfort it or when confronted by a stressful situation that they cannot cope with.

Its 'brain' lets it remember good or bad experiences from the past.

'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,' Dr CaƱamero said. The scientists believe that robots like Nao could be used in the future to give care to the elderly.

The project is a collaboration between eight universities and robotics companies across the EU.

Source: Daily Mail UK.
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