Four IT and Electronic Engineering undergrads at the Korean University of Technology & Education (KUT) have developed an emotional robot called K-EBO (KUT Emotion roBOt) over the past year. The wheeled robot uses webcams and microphones for its image processing and speech recognition needs, and can make a variety of facial expressions using 22 motors in its head. The eyes glance around and blink, the mouth frowns and smiles, and it simulates laughter and crying with added arm and hand gestures modeled on those of a 12-year old.
K-EBO is being demonstrated at Seoul’s COEX Job Expo 2010, where it won an award, and may be used as a guide robot in the future. Robots like this one, built for early childhood education or as therapeutic friends for the elderly, will need to express emotions during interactions. For example, the robot’s emotional expressions could be used when reading a book to a child. One of the students said they would like to improve the robot’s appearance by covering it with skin to enhance its appeal. For the time being, it looks fairly similar to Waseda University’s KOBIAN.
[source: Daejonilbo (KR)]