FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A Robot With Social Graces

It might have a face only an engineer could love, but Nico the robot is a true social butterfly.

Developed at Yale, Nico has a head, a neck, and a movable arm that gives it hand-eye coordination. More importantly, Nico can interact with those around it, recognize itself in the mirror, and even exhibit a degree of empathy. By being able to locate individuals and interpret their emotions based on their vocal intonations, Nico can help in work with children, particularly those with autism.

Nico represents a step forward in creating not only artificial intelligence, but artificial emotional intelligence -- a crucial development if we expect to someday interact with robots the way we interact with one another.

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