David Hanson, the artist-engineer who builds life-like artificial faces, has now created a 17-inch-tall robot with a cartoon version of a child's face. Popular Science profiled Hanson when he was first starting out, and had created an expressive robotic head modeled after his girlfriend.
This latest marvel, Zeno, has the same name as his 18-month-old son, and can also communicate a range of emotions by twisting its mouth, eyes and various facial features. Hanson has built a range of very real-looking robots in the past, including dead ringers for Einstein and Philip K. Dick. His ultimate goal is to cross the so-called Uncanny Valley, and create robotic faces that draw people in rather than freaking them out.
The coolest part? He hopes to be selling Zenos for $200 to $300 within a few years.—Gregory Mone