Face robot blurs line with reality


wd2-face-robot.jpgWe all know about R2-D2, but what about WD-2? This robot might sound somewhat like a distant relative of everyone’s beloved astromech droid, but in reality, it is but a “face robot” – that is, a robot that boasts a face which looks extremely realistic, just like an actual human. Now this is certainly a stunning development – could we see future robots that look like Sonny from I, Robot? Only time will tell, but here’s more skinny on the WD-2. This unique Face Robot is capable of making facial expressions that some would say are even more human-like when compared to actual humans. You know, I suppose that holds true especially for our stone faced History teachers at school who seem to be a living antiquity, murmuring to oneself about the Boston Tea Party and never showing a countenance other than that of a tight-lipped, grim face.

WD-2 is actually an abbreviation for “Waseda-Docomo face robot 2,” and is touted to be the most recent version of the face robot developed by researchers from Waseda University in Tokyo with mechanical engineer Atsuo Takanishi at the helm. The advancement of technology involved in making the WD-2 is essential as it helps provide insight into the creation of personal robots, and the fact that Japan’s aging population seem to depend more and more on robotic servants (whether they like it or not) would make the implementation of WD-2’s facial technology all the more important. Just as how you hate to work with someone who shows practically no emotion, dealing with cold robots are definitely not an experience to look forward to, and the WD-2 certainly helps the robotic cause when it comes to bridging the gap between humans and robots.

These facial expressions are made possible by changing 17 specific facial points on a mask, where each point is capable of three degrees of freedom for a grand total of 56 degrees of freedom. This mask can be easily modified to mimic a human face, including a person’s hairstyle and skin color. I won’t mind having one of these serve me at McDonald’s the next time round instead of that sour-faced frontliner.

Source: American Inventor Spot

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