Hunter researchers have answered the Tin Man’s plea for a heart with the invention of technology enabling robots to feel emotion in a near-human manner.
The new University of Newcastle technology helps a robot to connect with a human user based on shared emotional experiences.
The robot achieves this by scanning and interpreting features of the surrounding environment including colour, facial expression and the level of perceived comfort in a particular place.
“The impact of environmental sensory stimuli, such as sight, sound, smell, and touch, are known to have an effect on the emotions and behaviour of people,” project leader Aaron Wong said.
“In order for a robot to relate to humans, it must first be able to visualise and feel through the same modes of perception.
“Having the ability to sense the environment can assist robots to become friendlier in the eyes of a user, as they can better relate to how humans feel, based on the surrounding environment.”
Companion robot technology is one of several robot technologies under development at the university.
More recently the team has added autonomous helicopters to the mix.
“One application with the helicopter technology would be for use on our beaches. They could be used for shark patrols, monitoring surf conditions and finding lost children,” associate professor Stephan Chalup said.