December 6, 2021 report
Ameca robot shows off new level of human-like facial expressions
Engineered Arts, a robot maker based in the U.K., is showing off its latest creation at this year's CES 2022. Called Ameca, the robot is able to display what appears to be the most human-like facial expressions by a robot to date. On its webpage, the company calls Ameca "The Future Face of Robotics."
Engineered Arts is in the business of making robots that look as much like humans as is possible. To that end, they have been creating a series of robots with ever more life-like expressions. Its previous models were called Mesmer and RoboThespian—robots that were able to demonstrate a wide range of emotions. They were also painted with colors meant to mimic human skin and hair.
None of the robots at Engineered Arts has been designed to do anything, other than impress an audience. Mesmer was programmed in a way that allowed it to give a speech using the voice of a person behind the scenes. But they cannot walk or move around—they move only their arms, hands wrists, fingers, neck, head, eyes and mouth. But they do so in ways that look very human.
Ameca has been designed as a robot platform—customers who buy it can add AI and other software to give the robot desired abilities. The software it comes with is geared toward creating life-like expressions. It can smile, frown, wink and open and close its mouth. It can also show surprise or frustration or amusement. In a video released by the company, the robot appears to wake, as if from a nap. As it does so, it appears to be surprised by its existence. And it behaves as if startled when suddenly looking at the camera—as if suddenly spotting the viewer looking at it.
Will Jackson, founder of Engineered Arts, spoke to the press recently, telling them that the abilities of Ameca and the company's prior robots are the result of over 15 years' worth of research and development. He also said that the goal of the company has remained the same—to develop robots that are able to interact in human-like ways, with humans.
Ameca is currently available for sale through the Engineered Arts website—certain models are also available for renting for events.
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