Do you want a robot that looks (and acts) exactly like a human?
The robot era has just stared. I can guess that many of you have likely been dreaming of having a robot in your home.
Have you ever thought about owning a robot that looks almost exactly like a human? Have you ever thought about having a robot that can wash your dishes, wash your clothes, clean your home, wash your car and even have a smart chat with you? Or why couldn't you go out and have a drink or two with it?
That might sound really confusing, but the thing is that the Networked Society ball is headed directly on that way. Soon robots will be everywhere, and they will look like you want them to look like. But be prepared, they will probably be more expensive than a new car in the beginning.
Today robots can already smile, walk, run, dance, blink, think and even talk. A lot of studies are right now focusing on making robots more human. And the researchers are finding out that we are very complex in our behaviors – the way we move our head, the way our eyes look when we’re talking to someone and a lot of other details that a robot needs to copy to be a true human look-alike. And, of course, what the robot looks like and how it is dressed are also important when making a human robot.
The best thing about a human robot is that they can be on call 24 hours a day and serve you with whatever you want. And, of course, if you get tired of your robot, you can always push the off button.
In the videos below, you can watch two human robots that are “alive” right now.
The biggest challenge in building a human robot is making the muscles in the face move as realistically as possible. For the robot above, they use actuators to create movement in the face. Making a robot smile means a lot of actuators need to be in use and is quite tricky. There are also actuators for the lips, and it’s the same when the robot speaks – actuators need to perform movements in the face.
There is a lot of work still left to do, as robots need to learn all the possible reactions during a human conversation. Right now the robots in the video are moving their faces remotely, with one person connected to the robot and their face recorded with sensitive cameras. Then the robot performs the exact same moves in its face as the human its connected to. Soon, however, we can expect robots to learn how to move from a real person’s face during conversation.
So let this robot evolution go on for 10 to 20 years, and some of us will likely have a robot in our home. Maybe they will be as smart as you and me, or smarter! But do we really want them to be smarter? What would happen if they got their own free will. Maybe they just might just say “NO” to you and start to live the life they want. But, of course, as long as we still have the off –button, we will still have control!
So, the robot in our homes might seem a little bit scary today, but of course, cars were also frightening when they arrived more than 100 years ago, and look now, cars are not so scary any more J