Anyone who has witnessed the development of a newborn into a toddler knows that babies progress fairly quickly from making seemingly random, spastic body movements to interacting with the world in what seems a much more natural way--through touching and grabbing as well as through social cues, like smiling, grimacing, and other facial expressions. Now we're getting our first real glimpse of a multidisciplinary project mashing up robotics, neuroscience, computer vision, developmental psychology, and machine learning, a project led by University of California San Diego researchers has created Diego-san, a robotic one-year-old that learns to control its body and interact with others the same way a human baby does.
At four feet 3 inches tall and 66 pounds, Diego-san isn't a perfect physical analog for a toddler (miniaturizing all of the parts would have driven Diego-san's price tag way up), but his 44 pneumatic joints and the 27 moving parts in his extremely life-like face make for a humanoid that can mimic human movements--at least those of a one-year-old--quite deftly. The high definition cameras in his eyes take in the world around him--gestures, movements, facial expressions--and the team is developing algorithms that allow Diego-san to "learn" from these cues the same way a human baby would (to the extent that developmental psychologists understand this process, anyhow).
The video below is the first of Diego-san that's been publicly released, depicting the robot moving through a variety of facial expressions that it has learned from the humans it interacts with. Fair warning: Diego-san flirts dangerously with the uncanny valley phenomenon, as his facial expressions are just life-like enough to be somewhat creepy. But the ability to build a humanoid robot with this kind of human-like sophistication--particularly where the face is concerned--is fairly amazing.
Diego-san's research goals go both ways. for the roboticists and computer scientists on the project, Diego-San is granting a deeper understanding of sensory motor intelligence from a computational vantage point. From the other side, by mimicking the development of human babies Diego-san is helping developmental psychologists understand this phase of human development during which children first learn to interact with their physical environment and the other humans that populate it.
Oh.... Oh God. Kill it with fire!
WE NEED A YOUNG PRIEST AND AN OLD PRIEST!
Cool stuff but someone stepped into the Uncanny Valley.
So, so creepy. Honestly, I can wait a little bit until we have Cylons. Until then, they should focus on designs like iRobot or C3PO, you know, warm up to the idea of robots walking among us. I don't understand this obsession with making them look like us. It seems to be putting the cart before the horse. Get a fully working, arms, legs, software, etc, robot then work on the skin. It's much easier to accept something that kind of moves and acts like us than something that looks like us.
Just to let all know, "I'm am not the parent"!
That little guy even scares me. I wonder when he
will appear in the next scary movie?
looks like it got in to its mothers makeup.
Every day, week and year, but lately, every week, it seems we get closer by leaps and bounds, to terminator or bladerunner, ish, machines. It IS creepy. It's very cool and interesting as well, but it absolutely has a creep factor. I mean, realistic movement is one thing, but to actually have facial expressions and learned reactions has a troubling aspect to it. Maybe I've just seen too many movies. Definitely has promise for those sex robots they were talking about recently huh? Wouldn't it be nice to find out that the cute girl you met and took home from the bar was a robot, afterwards?
Let me get this straight.
A robotic child with a distinct hairdo of sorts and not one person involved with his creation, the writing of this article nor in these comments has uttered the phrase 'Astro Boy'?
This thing is not named Astro Boy?!?
I can't be that old and alone...
Stay classy, Diego San!
Here is a question is Diego-san going to "grow up" to be "Data" or the Yul Brynner robot from Westworld?
It's just a thought... Is this what Dr. Frankenstein had in mind??
I believe this little guy is Astro-Boy beta, that never got off the shelf, EW!