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Chinese robot company develops humanoids capable of expressing emotions

On the Ex-Robots factory floor in the northeastern Chinese city of Dalian, engineers develop humanoid robots with a focus on enhancing facial expressions and emotions.

Neck-length silicone masks are spread out on a table, alongside silicone arms and feet, while disembodied heads are on display and humanoid robots in various stages of construction sit nearby. Drawings of robot designs adorn one wall.

“We have our own software and algorithm teams,” said Ex-Robots Chief Executive Li Boyang, adding that humanoid robots are the most complex class of robotic products.

“There are many basic models and algorithms that are commonly open source and that everyone uses. However, we focus more on how to enable AI to recognize and express expressions and emotions.”

When an Ex-Robots employee moves her head, smiles and sticks out her tongue, a humanoid robot imitates her movement thanks to small motors installed in various spaces in the machine’s head.

“We are also working on the foundation model. The model we are creating is multimodal and capable of expressing emotions. It can perceive the surrounding environment and produce appropriate facial feedback,” Li said.

Ex-Robots said it takes two weeks to a month to produce a humanoid robot, with prices ranging from 1.5 million yuan ($207,000) to 2 million yuan.

To date, the main purpose of the company’s robots is to be displayed in museums, one of which Ex-Robots has installed in the same building as its factory.

Looking to the future, Li believes that humanoid robots will play a more important role in the healthcare and education sectors.

“Psychological counseling and health are certainly scenarios for future applications. We are currently carrying out related research such as ancillary treatment and preliminary screening of emotional and psychological disorders,” he said.

“Additionally, I believe that emotional interaction has broader applications in service fields, such as those focused on children.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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