A new robot unveiled this week highlights the psychological and technical challenges of designing a humanoid that people actually want to have around.
Like all little boys, Roboy likes to show off. He can say a few words. He can shake hands and wave. He is learning to ride a tricycle. And - every parent’s pride and joy - he has a functioning musculoskeletal anatomy. But when Roboy is unveiled this Saturday at the Robots on Tour event in Zurich, he will be hoping to charm the crowd as well as wow them with his skills. “One of the goals is for Roboy to be a messenger of a new generation of robots that will interact with humans in a friendly way,” says Rolf Pfeifer from the University of Zurich - Roboy’s parent-in-chief. As manufacturers get ready to market robots for the home it has become essential for them to overcome the public’s suspicion of them. But designing a robot that is fun to be with - as well as useful and safe - is quite difficult. (via BBC News - When are we going to learn to trust robots?)