June 22, 2008 5:04 AM
updated: June 22, 2008 5:05 AM
That's David Hanson. He invented a synthetic skin for android faces called Frubber( almost sounds like flubber). The skin stretches and folds naturally like real skin. Hanson created several heads that test the skin through emotional expressions via molded on fabric hooks on fishing wire connected to servo motors. As for the software, I have watched most of these videos and from what I can tell, its just text to speech. how I found out was in one of them, the robot says "Ummm, Ummm," for a question about sex, which is too natural for a robot to say, unless someone was typing from behind the camera. I believe that the videos are not focusing on if the robot is self aware, but to demonstrate the realistic expression of the Frubber faces through interaction with people. However, there might be an A.I. program that Hanson acquired later from a company when his team had constructed the Philip K. **** interactive robot. But if you think that's bizarre, that's nothing compared to his earlier ones, which were heads of a woman and even that of Albert Einstein on Asimo-type bodies ( I wonder if Hanson built a Nixon with a Bender body?) . As for a commercial use for this, an Astro Boy like robot called Zenu will be released sometime soon.
GW, I think you could pull this kind of project off. You already gotten farther than most of us modifying and hacking the bust's tech, so you already left it open for other possible applications. I'm excited to see how this will turn out when your finished. I thought the vid really was a hacked Elvis bust, until I saw the facial expressions and Hanson. Still, it does inspire a Elvis hacking idea.