Now, a robot that will understand emotions


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A robot being developed in Finland will be capable of recognising human emotions and understanding speech and gestures. Being created at the University of Oulu in Finland, the technology could prove beneficial in nursing homes and in the fields of security and logistics, reported Research groups working on the project, led by Matti Pietikainen and Juha Roning, have developed the new technology in speech animation, navigation and what is described as machine vision.

To achieve machine vision, the researchers use a regular video camera and a Kinect depth camera. Microphones installed on the robot enable it to recognise the direction and speech's volume.The control system receives, via sensors, raw data and time data, as well as emotional states as interpreted by the machine vision. The robot compares the emotional state with emotional states and interactive models it has previously been programmed to recognise.

The robot, on the basis of the data, communicates with the user by making a movement or sound. It can also be taught to recognise humans and remember earlier interactive situations. The project is part of the Academy of Finland's MOTIVE research programme. It involves international cooperation, among others, with universities in China.Social robots are expected to become a regular feature in homes in the future.