Socibot Robot Changes Teleconferencing By Imitating Facial Expressions And Emotions


Forget FaceTime — the Socibot is going to completely change the way you talk to your friends. A "social robot" invented by a Cornish company called Engineered Arts, this device reportedly knows how to mimic your caller's facial expressions and emotions and is able to display them on its plastic surface, bringing a personal element to videoconferencing.

Nic Carey, a research coordinator at Engineered Arts, told The Guardian:

Woah, things just got real. Carey acknowledged that the face of the disembodied person staring out from the frame might not be what you'd expect for your everyday phone call, 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." Ahh, yes. More confusion by deciphering facial expressions is exactly what we need.

The robot is purposely designed to be "gender and ethnically neutral." Carey said the translucent mask is projected on from within, so the chosen face is "3D-mapped on to its surface and speech perfectly synchs, while the head turns and tilts as it talks."

I still can't tell if this is genius or just plain creepy. But for the price of £14,500, I think I will definitely pass.

Images: Engineered Arts