Meet Affetto, a life-like child robot that can detect changes in pressure via its synthetic skin, allowing it to ‘feel and express’ pain. A team of researchers at Osaka University in Japan have developed this eerily-realistic bot in the hopes that it will help robots understand and empathize with humans.
Equipped with a “pain nervous system” that is powered by artificial intelligence (AI), Affetto is able to feel and differentiate between a gentle touch or a solid hit. Its state-of-the-art synthetic skin allows it to react to sensations using a variety of facial expressions – from responding to touches by smiling, frowning, and grimacing.
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Overall, the researchers identified 116 different facial points and now they’re zeroing in on enabling Affetto to process pain. Back in 2011, when Affetto made its debut, it was just a robotic head capable of showing facial expressions. Today, Affetto has a full bot-body that is covered by synthetic skin equipped with sensors.