In the nearly two years since it was first unveiled to the world, the Child-robot with Biomimetic Body, or CB2, has been developing social skills by interacting with humans and watching their facial expressions, according to its creators at Osaka University.
Comprised of robotics engineers, brain specialists, psychologists and other experts, the research team has been teaching the android to think like a baby by having it evaluate facial expressions and classify them into basic categories, such as happiness and sadness.
The 130-centimter (4 ft 4 in) tall, 33-kilogram (73 lb) robot is equipped with eye cameras that record emotional expressions. Designed to learn like an infant, the robot can memorize facial expressions and match them with physical sensations, which it detects via 197 pressure sensors under a suit of soft, silicone skin.
In addition to watching faces, CB2 has been learning to walk. With 51 pneumatic “muscles,” the little android can now amble through a room more smoothly than it could nearly two years ago, though it still requires the aid of a human.
Within two years, the researchers hope the robot will gain the intelligence of a two-year-old child and the ability to speak in basic sentences. In the coming decades, the researchers expect to develop a “robo species” that has learning abilities somewhere between those of humans and chimps.