Date
19 October 2017
Spot the human:  Nadia Thalmann created Nadine, a humanoid that can be the perfect companion in assisted living. Photo: Reuters
Spot the human: Nadia Thalmann created Nadine, a humanoid that can be the perfect companion in assisted living. Photo: Reuters

Is this the new face of mankind, sort of?

Meet Nadine, your new nurse and personal assistant.

Just now, she is only able to express a range of emotions and remember previous conversations.

But not to worry. Nadine is only a robot, but anytime soon, she can be the perfect companion.

This perfect storm of a humanoid is blowing away skepticism about the future of robotics-aided living.

Nadine already approaches something likeable – brown hair, soft skin and expressive face — the kind of qualities you’d like someone around you to have.

Nadine, all of 1.7 meters, was created in the likeness of its maker, Nadia Thalmann, a visiting professor and director of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University’s Institute of Media Innovation, Reuters reports.

Thalmann has spent 30 years researching into virtual humans.

Nadine’s software allows the robot to express a range of emotions and recall a previous conversation.

The robot is not commercially available yet, but Thalmann said robots could one day be used as companions for people living with dementia.

“If you leave these people alone, they will be going down very quickly. So these people need to always be in interaction,” Thalmann said.

She said Nadine could provide conversation, tell a story or play a simple game.

Thalmann and her team are also working on emotive robots that can play with children.

The project is still in the early development stage and no prototype is available yet.

The child robot would be able to respond to questions, display emotions and recognize people.

Aside from being a social companion, the child robot could supervise unattended children and inform a parent or nanny if something went wrong, Thalmann said.

There are plans to program the child robot to speak different languages so that it can serve as an educational tool for children, she said.

“A child has toys but they are usually passive. This robot will be an active toy which interacts with the child,” said Thalmann. “It will be able to remember what the child likes.”

What will they think of next?

– Contact us at [email protected]

FL/RA 

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