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Social Robotics: Beyond the ­ncanny Valley

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Heather Knight and Nao

Roboticist Heather Knight and Nao

Credit: Carnegie Mellon University

Social roboticists are developing ways to make robots seem more human like and overcome the uncanny valley, which is the reaction humans have to robotic appearance or behavior when it is perceived as almost human.

At a recent New York Academy of Sciences event, "Familiar but Strange: Exploring our Relationships with Robots," roboticist Heather Knight and computer vision expert Christoph Bregler explored the uncanny valley.

Knight is the founder of Marilyn Monrobot Labs, which creates socially intelligent robot performances and sensor-based electronic art. "As we go about designing our future, some of the things I think about are creating intelligent machines, building relatable robotic characters, and creating companions that can exist and help us in our everyday lives," Knight says.

New York University (NYU) professor Chris Bregler, director of the NYU Movement Lab, which focuses on virtual characters and actors without physical embodiment, also spoke at the event. "The uncanny valley is now a common problem everywhere--in the game industry, in the motion capture industry--and while there are movies that dance around the uncanny valley, others fall right into it," Bregler says.

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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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