Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Robot Who Smiled

Jules the Robot is the first humanoid robot (see video at bottom of the page after the jump). This isn't particularly related to medicine, but I just found the video so eerie I thought I should post it:

Scientists have created the first 'humanoid' robot that can mimic the facial expressions and lip movements of a human being.

'Jules' - a disembodied androgynous robotic head - can automatically copy the movements, which are picked up by a video camera and mapped on to the tiny electronic motors in his skin.

It can grin and grimace, furrow its brow and 'speak' as his software translates real expressions observed through video camera 'eyes'.

As I said, this isn't directly medically related, but one can envision this technology being used to make more realistic robots for students and residents to train on, with the "patient" robot grimacing if students examine it too roughly, or laughing if they're being tickled. Advances like this also make me wonder whether medical ethics can keep up with the pace of innovation.

Image Credit: The Daily Mail

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