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Hanson Robokind puts a familiar Frubber face on robotic research (video)

Thomas Ricker , @trixxy
He did it! As promised way back in 2007, David Hanson has turned his little Astro Boy-like Zeno robot loose upon our delicate planet. But Zeno is just one of four face options available for the Hanson Robokind -- the "almost human robot" considered "the best robot on the market" by its maker. In addition to the fully expressive Zeno, Alice, and Einstein (yes, that Einstein) faces, Hanson is also offering the static-faced Geo with fully functional eyes. Each face features Hanson's Frubber biometric skin that contracts and folds to simulate the action of your own flesh-coated facial muscles to create "millions" of possible expressions. These expressions are assisted by natural eyelid actions covering a pair of independently moving eyes, each equipped with 720p @ 30fps cameras for binocular stereo-vision. Rounding out the specs is a complete suite of sensors, microphones, optional Maxon motors, and an embedded computer with open source OS. Hanson's also working on a complete SDK it hopes to release ASAP. Prices start at $8,500 (model R-20) for a static body with motorized head on up to $14,750 (model R-50) for a maxed-out model with fully expressive head and walking body capable of 33 degrees of freedom. And hey, if you buy five expressive faces you'll get one interchangeable walking body for free. Now, get ready to get up close and personal with the entire Hanson family after the break.