Japanese researchers said on Saturday that they have developed a humanoid robot that can laugh and smile just like a real human being.
The robot, called Geminoid TMF, can move its rubber facial skin to mimics a person's facial expressions. It can imitate a smile, laugh while showing teeth, and offer a grim look with furrowed brow, all by receiving electric signals from the person the robot is modeled after.
Osaka University researchers demonstrated the robot, showing how it could imitate a woman in her 20s by smiling and furrowing its brow in response to its human doppelganger doing the same thing.
A video camera records the face of a human, whose movements are converted to electrical signals to tell his or her robot "twin" to make the same expressions.
So what's the application for such a surreal technology? Health care. Human-like robots can be used in hospitals to give patients psychological security, such as by nodding and smiling.
If you ask me, though, it's a fine line between reassuring and just plain creepy.
Here's a video of the robot:
Copies of the robot are expected to be sold for about 10 million yen, or approximately $110,000. Customers are expected to include robotics research organizations.