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Robotics Hardware

Interactive, Emotion-Detecting Robot Developed 58

Posted by Soulskill
from the uncanny-valley dept.
cylonlover writes "A team of Cambridge University researchers have now developed a system that can not only detect a user's emotional state, but can also make expressive responses of its own. Using a robotic likeness of the godfather of the programmable computer, Charles Babbage, the team has hooked the system up to a driving simulator and created a computerized driving companion and navigator that reacts to the driver in much the same way as a human passenger."
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Interactive, Emotion-Detecting Robot Developed

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  • Creepy dead-faced robotic backseat drivers.

    • But will it get me into the carpool lane?
  • Are human beings really that incapable of mental abstraction that they need some anthropomorphic gizmo telling them the same thing a normal machine can do, but with 10x the development cost?
  • by scdeimos (632778) on Monday January 03, 2011 @11:20PM (#34750462)
    From TFA:

    Voice recognition software is now quite a capable means of entering information into a computer system.

    guffaw.

    Still, where do I get two of these bots from so I can use the T3 lanes on the way to work in the morning?

    • by lenroc (632180)

      From TFA:

      Voice recognition software is now quite a capable means of entering information into a computer system.

      guffaw.

      You guffaw, but I entered this comment with voice recognition.

      Dear aunt, let’s set so double the killer delete select all

      er.... oops?

    • guffaw.

      Still, where do I get two of these bots from so I can use the T3 lanes on the way to work in the morning?

      Lots of places on the Internet [racy.com].

    • by Dhalka226 (559740) on Tuesday January 04, 2011 @12:15AM (#34750758)

      I have what would be described in science as a "fucking awful" voice. I remember playing with some VR technology a few years back and I couldn't even make it through the training. I adjusted my mic and everything like it asked and then got to the prompts: "Say 'dog.'" "Dog." "You said 'b93r.' Say 'dog.'" After six or seven tries of that kind of nonsense I pretty much gave up.

      I was actually playing with a copy of Dragon Naturally Speaking a month or two ago and was surprised by how good it was. I could tell it was struggling with my voice; the instructions at the start of the training said that most people wouldn't need to read the whole story for the training to be comfortable, and I had to go all the way through and more, but it was pretty good. It could recognize whole sentences at a time, whereas previous technology couldn't even manage words. I finished up the training and busted open Word to give it a try (I could have trained it further but I was just playing with it) and it was very accurate. And this, quite obviously, is with a voice that gives VR technology fits and a general vocabulary where it couldn't even attempt to muff the results by choosing from known word lists.

      I have little trouble believing that with a bit more training and a little more user training on my part (working to enunciate a little better, etc) that it could be a very capable means of entering information. Doubly so if the information I'm entering is predictable such that it has (for lack of a better term) a smaller dictionary to guess from.

      VR is probably pitiful compared to where we thought we would be in 2010 years ago, but it's actually getting to be quite respectable.

      • by scdeimos (632778)

        Speaker-dependant speech recognition software can do reasonably well, given enough training as you have mentioned. Speaker-independent speech recognition software, on the other hand, is still very much in its infancy.

        One of the telcos in our country, Telstra, has rolled out a service that I'd like to opt-out of... voicemail to SMS. If you miss a call, instead of a voicemail being recorded for you to listen to later on, a computer answers the call and gives the speaker 10 seconds to state their business with

      • by JustNiz (692889)

        Yep I have the same problem.
        I emigrated to the US from England about 8 years ago so have an English accent. I don't believe I have a strong UK regional accent, as British regional accents go, my home area (south west) is probably nearest to 'generic' BBC English. Yet still most voice recognition software can't figure me out. Personally I find products like Dragon more effort than they are worh so avoid them ( I can type faster anyway) but its getting ever harder to avoid those very annoying corporate ph

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How long before it can smell fear?

  • Disney has a lead on this and their work looks good to me. They have Mr. Potato-head that recognizes people and their interactions then reacts accordingly. It is leading edge stuff but it has been going on for quite some time.

  • If you're going to make a robotic person, it should look like Summer Glau. Come on, people!

    • by makubesu (1910402)
      Using a robotic likeness of the godfather
      I thought they should've stopped there and rolled with it.
    • by Eudial (590661)

      I think he's a good choice, being a bit of an eccentric jerk type of guy. I quote wikipedia:

      'Babbage's distaste for commoners ("the Mob") included writing "Observations of Street Nuisances" in 1864, as well as tallying up 165 "nuisances" over a period of 80 days. He especially hated street music, and in particular the music of organ grinders, against whom he railed in various venues. The following quotation is typical:

      It is difficult to estimate the misery inflicted upon thousands of persons, and the absolu

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Or at least make it look like Ada Lovelace (no relation to Linda Lovelace).
  • ... the "Oh!" face? How does it react to that?
  •         Now the world has gone to bed
            Darkness won't engulf my head
            I can see by infra-red
            How I hate the night

            Now I lay me down to sleep
            Try to count electric sheep
            Sweet dream wishes you can keep
            How I hate the night

    • It's extremely bad manners to quote that poem without giving attribution to the author, Douglas Adams.
      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        Everyone here knows where that came from, and if they don't, they're probably at the wrong website.

  • From TFA:

    They developed a computer system that tracks feature points on a user's face via a camera and then compares the input with entries in a database of hundreds of predefined mental states to interpret the combinations of gestures as emotions.

    Could this be used to analyse microexpressions [wikipedia.org]? Microexpression analysis has significant potential for improving lie detector tests beyond simple polygraphs.

  • ...unimpressed...

  • Seriously. One of the subsets of the Turing Test should be how the system responds to a 'typical' Maori war dance (we'll even allow the All-Blacks as performers of the ritual), without any pedagogical knowledge of the Maori.

    You know, be a diplomat. Or, god forbid, a missionary. That's worked out pretty well for lots of intelligences (the human kind, of a sort).

  • But officer, I have three digital driving companions installed in my car, what do you mean "I can't use the carpool lane".
  • Fine, they want to use Charles Babbage. I have no problem with that. But WHY in the world would they choose to portray an old Charles Babbage? Would not a younger version of him be just as accurate? (Not to mention the nasty waxy smooth skin... but that's another matter.)
  • When I die I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming like the artificial driving companion in his car.
  • Combine that with the robot that learned to shoot a bow and arrow [redicecreations.com] and the robots that learned to lie to each other [popsci.com] and we're either living in very interesting or very scary times... or both.

  • If only someone had told me about these BEFORE I got married!
  • Huh, I am surprised at this. I am only an early engineer, doing a research project for my class, but I know a little more about this stuff than most others, and I don't understand how it is reading the emotions of the other humans interacting with it. Is it a combination of voice and the muscles in the face? Or just one of the two?
  • Emotion-Detecting Robot Developed eh? What could possibly go wrong?

    10 Detect Emotion
    20 Kill
    30 GOTO 10

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