British researchers make friendlier robots

Researchers at the University of Lincoln in the U.K. have developed ERWIN (emotion robot with...

Researchers at the University of Lincoln in the U.K. have developed ERWIN (emotion robot with intelligent network). It is hoped ERWIN will help the researchers find ways for humans to bond with potential companion robots. Here, ERWIN frowns to show it is sad. (University of Lincoln Handout)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:24 AM ET

If you have ever thought robots just don't get you, new British research shows there is a way to make robots our friends who understand our feelings.

PhD student Mriganka Biswas and Prof. John Murray from the University of Lincoln are developing ERWIN — an "emotion robot with intelligent network."

It means the robot, which could serve as a companion to the elderly or children with autism, can interact with a human using one of five basic emotions.

Biswas said when humans interact, they might click and a relationship forms. But it's hard for humans to bond with robots because they lack personalities.


Here, ERWIN smiles to show it is happy. (University of Lincoln Handout)

"A companion robot needs to be friendly and have the ability to recognize users' emotions and needs, and to act accordingly. So, for each category the robot needs to form a 'long-term' relationship with its users, which is possible by continuous interactions and the robot having its own personality and characteristics," Biswas said.

"Based on human interactions and relationships, we will introduce 'characteristics' and 'personalities' to the robot."

Biswas said creating more realistic relationships between robots and humans means the robots will have faults.


Here, ERWIN frowns to show it is sad. (University of Lincoln Handout)

"Cognitive biases make humans what they are, fashioning characteristics and personality, complete with errors and imperfections. Therefore, introducing cognitive biases in a robot's characteristics makes the robot imperfect by nature, but also more human-like," Biswas said.

Biswas and Murray have created two "friendly" robots, one of which is a 3D-printed humanistic android.

 


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