Got a Weird Facial Expression? There's a Robot for That.


No need to be weirded out by video conference meetings, Skype or FaceTime anymore guys, there’s a robot for that. The Socibot will translate the faces you’d make in person, just, you know, on a robot.

According to The Guardian, Socibot is almost like talking to a real person, if people were designed by a computer programmer.

“It’s like having a real presence in the room,” says Nic Carey, research co-ordinator at Engineered Arts, the Cornish company behind the device. “You simply upload a static photo of the face you want it to mimic and our software does the rest, animating the features down to subtle mouth twitches and eyes that follow you around the room. Even when they’re not speaking, it really feels like there’s someone there, keeping an eye on you.”

I think the funniest part is that this creation looks like one of those makeup Barbie heads from my childhood, but less friendly and more like a Total Recall prop.

Socibot is designed to be gender and ethnically neutral with a translucent mask projected from inside the head piece. The head can turn and tilt as it talks to give the appearance that the communication receiver is having a real conversation with an actual person. On the other hand, like Chucky from Child’s Play, Socibot also has the capability to watch the person it is talking to via two cameras in it’s head piece. Socibot also has a “depth sensor in its chest, it can detect gestures and movements, as well as judge your emotions by mapping the position of your features over a series of internal templates.”

Translation: Socibot knows when you’re there, if you’re listening or if you aren’t happy to be there. No more falling asleep during conversations and thinking the other person won’t notice, Socibot will tell on you.

At 14,500 British pounds you can have one of these Socibots and your online dating life will probably really take off. Or this robot will come to life at night and kill you, but that’s totally up debate, of course.

Image via Robothespian.

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