Robotics designer David Hanson builds intelligent robots with amazingly lifelike human faces that can make eye contact and understand human speech well enough to hold a conversation. A key to this technology is a facial material Hanson calls “Frubber”–a contraction of face and rubber. Developed using techniques inspired by nature, Frubber is a lightweight polymer plastic that contracts and folds just like human skin. Natural-looking faces on a robot, says Hanson, enable fast communication between man and machine. Hanson’s team is looking at biomimicry in order to emulate what it means to be human in a machine.
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