In December, Engineered Arts, a robotics company based in Cornwall, took Twitter by storm with a video of one its latest creations, a humanoid robot named Ameca (check it out at engineeredarts.co.uk/robot/ameca/). The video was shared by thousands of people on Twitter, who were disturbed and amazed in equal measure by its human appearance and lifelike expressions.
We spoke to Will Jackson, CEO of Engineered Arts, about how Ameca was made, what the robot will be used for, and whether he finds his own creation unsettling.
A LOT OF PEOPLE SAW THE VIDEO OF AMECA ONLINE, BUT WHAT IS THE ROBOT FOR?
With Ameca, we wanted to create an intuitive and straightforward way to communicate with a machine. It’s essentially a humanoid designed as a platform for AI. There are a lot of people working on software for human interaction right now, things like facial recognition, expression and estimation, and then there’s things like gesture recognition, speech recognition and generated textto-speech. While there are lots of people working on the software, there’s very little hardware. If you want people to really interact with an AI, a screen and keyboard isn’t going to cut it.
We wanted to build a machine that, if you smile, knows you’re happy and if you frown, knows you disapprove. You don’t even have to speak to communicate; a nod of the head, a wink, or a smile is worth a thousand words. These were the kind of interactions that we wanted to explore with Ameca.
HOW DOES AMECA WORK?
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