It may not be all that human-like in its current state, but a team of researchers at the University of Ottawa are promising that this robot will get there sooner or later. Dubbed "Pumpkin," the bot will apparently have its parts replaced piece-by-piece with more life-like counterparts over time, including parts that make use of a new artificial skin the researchers have developed. It not only includes the usual array of sensors that give the robot some degree of tactile sensitivity, but a network of tubes that circulate hot water to actually increase the temperature of the skin. According to the researchers, the eventual goal is to have a robot that appears and behaves naturally enough to make humans feel at ease when they're interacting with it, but it might get a bit worse before it gets better -- the next step is to replace the head with an anatomically correct model of the human skull, which will have the aforementioned artificial skin stretched over it.

[Thanks, Jeff]


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Canadian researchers aim to build a more life-like robot, one piece at a time