Friday, February 23, 2007

Robots to learn emotions and socially appropriate responses

Dr. Lola Canamero with her robotsOh my....

"Feelix Growing is a research project involving six countries, and 25 roboticists, developmental psychologists and neuroscientists.
Co-ordinator Dr Lola Canamero said the aim was to build robots that "learn from humans and respond in a socially and emotionally appropriate manner". "

They start with basic robot hardware, and are focussing on software that learns, via neural networks. The article breaks the tasks up into three parts.

1. Sensory input - "Tactile feedback and emotional feedback through positive reinforcement, such as kind words, nice behaviour or helping the robot do something if it is stuck." Another article jokes about whacking them on the head with a newspaper if they are naughty.

2. Detect expressions - "The robots will get the feedback from simple vision cameras, audio, contact sensors, and sensors that can work out the distance between the machine and the humans. " Then they will use neural networks to learn and intergrate the data.

3. Imprinted behaviors - They start by having the robot imprint to the first object they see, much like Lorenz and his geese. ""We have a prototype of a robot that follows people around and can adapt to the way humans interact with it. "It follows closer or further away depending on how the human feels about it." "We are focusing on emotions relevant to a baby robot that has to grow and help human with every day life ".

Makes me think of the movie AI. Definitely worth seeing. Futuristic Pinocchio story, excellently done.

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