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VR Interfaces: CB2


Overview of CB2
CB2, which stands for Child-robot with Biomimetic Body, is a new android-based attempt at developing an artificial intelligence with social skills. The robot is essentially a bald, white baby, and it learns in much the same way - by watching expressions change on its 'mother's' face, and teaching its own neural net to cluster them together.

CB2, despite its appearance, tries to mimic all the sensory signs of a baby, to enable those interacting with it to bond somewhat. CB2's chest rises and falls with different rhythms as it breathes at different rates, when awake, asleep, angry or excited. With 197 pressure sensors under its light grey rubbery skin, CB2 can recognise, and thus respond to human touch, and caressing, or stroking gestures.

These haptic sensations are matched directly to what its eyes detect by way of facial expression and even some body language.

Unfortunately, it's a bit bigger and heavier than a normal baby, so its not picked up and hugged. At four feet four inches, and weighing 33 kilograms, the baby android would be absolute murder to carry about. Fortunately, CB2 has taught itself how to walk, using 51 pneumatic muscles distributed throughout its body.

It is probably of no surprise that the android is Japanese, given that country's drive to create embodied synthetic life. Professor Minoru Asada of Osaka University, is the parent of this baby, and is supported by the state-funded Japan Science and Technology Agency.

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