From the man who brought you freaky deaky robot Einstein head comes Zeno, the world’s first “complete character robot.” He’s got rubbery skin, cameras in his eyes, mikes in his ears, and a cache of processors in his brain, all of which enables him to, er, change facial expressions slightly from placid to quizzical. The AP video explains it all to you.
The real advance here, it seems to me, is more conceptual than technological. Hanson Robotics designed him explicitly as a “social robot,” with no purpose other than companionship for human beings. “It sees you and recognizes your face,” says David Hanson. “It learns your name and can build a relationship with you.” A crucial advance, my friends, if we’re ever to get that Westworld outside Tokyo I keep whining about.
If any of you are anime fans and find that he looks familiar, there’s a reason.