Socibot Robot: A Spooky Robot That Wears Any Face
If Skype and FaceTime aren't giving you enough of the human touch, you could soon be talking face to rubbery face with your loved ones, thanks to SociBot, a creepy “social robot” that can imitate your friends.
“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.”
The face of a disembodied colleague staring out from a silvery helmet might not be what you'd expect at your average teleconference, but the company thinks it could transform the way we interact over long distances by simulating the subtleties of human expression, recreating the things that are lost on a flat screen. Designed to be gender and ethnically neutral, the translucent mask is projected on from within, the chosen face 3D-mapped on to its surface and speech perfectly lip-synched, while the head turns and tilts as it talks.
- Country: England
- Company: Engineered Arts Limited