You ever hear that saying about how it takes 17 muscles to smile, 43 to frown? Aside from encouraging people to smile more, this should tell you something about the human face. Namely, that it’s got a very complex makeup, with many, many moving parts. So it goes without saying that creating an artificial face that could mimic human expressions would be one huge undertaking.
As it turns out, a recent story from Io9 reveals that researchers working for the University of Pisa have created a robot face that can actually pull most, if not all of them, off. Known as a “Hybrid Engine for Facial Expressions Synthesis” (HEFES) this robot has demonstrated the ability to portray a full range of emotions, though they admit that the grimace is still a bit off.
Designed using one of the team member’s wives as the model, the robot is aptly named “FACE”. According to lead researcher, Nicole Lazzeri, the end result is “really realistic,” and also represents a major step forward in both robotics and AI research. Hmm, that make’s two steps forward, by my reckoning. To quote Ghost in the Shell: “It has a voice, now it just needs a body”!
The countdown to David 8 is on!