Scary robots: Now with empathy!

Tin-man finally finds a heart

  • Makers of the Heart Robot were aiming for something vulnerable, alien and cartoony with the design. The programming of the device instructs it on how to react depending on interactions with humans, so some people may be fooled into thinking the robot is alive. Silly, foolish people.

  • It has two air-pumps in its legs that simulate breathing, a nervous system built with five small computers and a heartbeat that speeds up when the silk-padded and plastic-boned automaton gets 'worried'.

  • So is this the future of robotics? Thanks to massive advances in robotics and circuit miniaturisation, we can expect to see androids like these growing in popularity — but don’t expect to have a super-bot anytime soon, or for them to be within the price range of the average wallet!

  • The unit lacks the machinery needed to stand or walk, which means a person must either treat it as a puppet or a doll. Fortunately, its hands allow it to provide the occasional hug.

  • Have you ever loved your robot and wished it could love you back? Now a team in the UK has combined puppetry, sensors, robotic actuators and ‘emotions’ to create the Heart Robot.
    It may have a face that only a mother-bot could love, but the Heart Robot’s creators from the University of the West of England hope this device represents the future of android technology.

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