Latest in Tomorrow

Image credit:

Emotional robot uses goosebumps to show how it's feeling

You could know it needs a hug just by holding it.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
July 16, 2018
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Cornell University

Sure, a robot can show how it's feeling (insofar as a robot can feel) with its face, but that's not the only way living beings do it. Humans have their goosebumps, for instance, while cats and dogs will raise their fur. Cornell wants to bring that nuance to synthetic beings. Its researchers have crafted a robot that uses a soft, adjustable skin to provide a tactile indication of a robot's emotion -- as the university put it, you can feel its feelings. It may develop goosebumps if it's happy, spikes if it's angry, or just a timid response if it's sad and needs a hug.

The elastomer skin contains separate sets of goosebump and spike generators, each of which is joined by fluidic chambers. When the robot wants to bare its soul, a quiet two-pump system applies pressure to the generators at the strength and frequency needed to convey those feelings. It's relatively subtle, and shouldn't kill the preciousness moment with loud mechanical noises.

Cornell's tech isn't particularly sophisticated at the moment (the design is likened to a 3D-printed oyster), and it's not about to fool you into thinking a robot needs some TLC. However, this could matter in the long run as scientists produce more sophisticated AI systems and artificial skins. If robots are ever going to be advanced enough to display something resembling real human emotion, they'll ideally show all the cues associated with those feelings.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

The 2020 Engadget Holiday Gift Guide

View
The best TV deals we could find for Black Friday

The best TV deals we could find for Black Friday

View
Apple's Intel-powered MacBook Air falls to $799 ahead of Black Friday

Apple's Intel-powered MacBook Air falls to $799 ahead of Black Friday

View
'Mechwarrior 5' will arrive on Xbox in spring 2021

'Mechwarrior 5' will arrive on Xbox in spring 2021

View
'Marvel's Avengers' hasn't turned a profit yet

'Marvel's Avengers' hasn't turned a profit yet

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr