Furhat Robotics, launches a Social robot

Furhat Robotics, in Stockholm, Sweden have launched their face swapping social robot. This robot can simulate looks and sound of many different virtual people and can take on any number of personalities.
It has a new computer interface. A projection system beams faces on to an opaque mask, while a neck with three degrees of freedom allows for smooth, natural head movement. Cameras and microphones do the observing; speakers do the talking. This interface makes communicating with the “social” robot a more interactive experience.
The robot can display complex expressions as it comes with a selection of pre-built expressions and gestures which can be further customised to fit any character.
The back end of Furhat is an operating system that manages its basic intelligence. Furhat can constantly monitors the position and expressions of faces in front of it, by doing this it understands when it’s being spoken to and when it just has listen to conversation around it. This approach to observation is the most important requirement for a social robot. Instead of being a question-and-answer machine (smart speaker/assistant) , it is aware of, and can react to, much more complex environments and situations.
We’ve seen research that shows that in certain situations people are more comfortable opening up and talking about difficult issues with a robot than with a human,” said Samer Al Moubayed, chief executive of Furhat Robotics.

The robot has been used in Frankfurt airport as a multi-lingual concierge, helping travelers find their way, but also for customer services training – simulating irate shoppers for example.

Science and technology firm Merck and Furhat Robotics on Wednesday unveiled a robot in Stockholm which will ask people about their health and lifestyle and screen them for risk of diabetes, alcoholism and hypothyroidism. If necessary, the robot will advise them to go for a blood test or to a doctor.

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