Research continues around the world on how to improve human-robot interactions, and one of these researches focuses in particular on understanding the emotions of human beings that a robot faces . This is the case of Abel, a robot resembling a 12-year-old boy.
The new robot was created jointly between the Research Center of the University of Pisa and Biomimics of Londr a. For some, the latter name is perhaps not new: it is the laboratories that gave life to some of the characters of Star Wars or the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park.
“Abel is a humanoid robot both aesthetically and behaviorally. Not only does he resemble and move like us humans, but he is able to interact, behave and perceive his surroundings in a similar way to ours ".
Lorenzo Cominelli, E.Piaggio Research Center.
The Abel robot: fusion of affective computing and social robotics
The Abel robot is therefore a fusion of two fields: that of affective computing and social robotics.
Affective computing deals with the study and development of systems and devices capable of recognizing, interpreting, processing and simulating human affects . It is an interdisciplinary field that spans computer science, psychology and cognitive science.
Social robotics deals with studying particular types of robots (autonomous or semi-autonomous) capable of interacting and communicating with humans or other autonomous physical agents following social behaviors and rules related to their specific roles.
How does a robot grasp the emotions of humans?
Abel is therefore based on a mix that allows the robot to interact and at the same time to study the interlocutor by observing many parameters.
Among these elements we also find some not directly visible to humans, such as the small thermal changes on the face visible in infrared or the frequency of the heartbeat , all elements from which he can deduce what emotions the person in front of him is feeling, with here he is interacting.
“Try to understand the person in front of him and, if he takes an action, try to understand if he has provoked a reaction of a certain type. For example, in applications with patients with disorders such as Alzheimer's, a similar robot can be used to fathom the patient's reactions to a range of behaviors and then figure out what the best responses might be. From this work the doctor can look for the most effective treatments. Abel has incredible potential, a platform for use in many fields ”.
It is not the only Italian research in this field. An example is Pepper , created at the RoboticsLabs of the University of Palermo, showing for the first time the inner voice of a Robot.
The article The 12-year-old Abel robot who knows how to understand human emotions is Italian comes from Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .