Can Robots Express Human Like Emotions?

Human beings rely on a variety of subtle and not so subtle visual and emotional cues in order to communicate with one another.  As robotics become more human like they will need to have the ability to communicate using “emotional expressions” which closely mimic those of their human counterparts. Can robots express emotions in a way that will be appealing to human beings? A team at the Interdepartmental Research Center at the University of Pisa in Italy have launched a research project called FACE to find out. FACE or  Facial Automaton for Conveying Emotions uses the latest in robotics technology and cutting edge software to create oddly life-like robots. The FACE team seeks to further develop and improve upon its Robotics4.NET framework used program the robots and provide a communications infrastructure for its different software modules. According to Live Science; ” The FACE bot can register anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise. That repertoire requires 32 separate motors to control “muscles” in her head and upper torso.” We have seen work in this area before with the Japanese ACTROID-F designed with a more pleasant appearance and capable of displaying a greater degree of speed and fluidity of movement. At this stage of development the robot can seem somewhat disturbing but as the technology improves this important work could lead to more convincing emotionally expressive robots.