Let's face it. Disembodied robot heads have not yet reached their maximum potential. They can sing and chat and channel your personality post-mortem, but they don't always look particularly human doing so.
To make Mask-bot, researchers from the Technische Universitat Munchen in Germany, along with Japanese and Australian scientists, eschewed traditional robotic-realism methods of placing motors under artificial skin. Instead, they used a small, powerful projector to beam the 3D image of a face onto the back of a transparent mask, and a computer to control the voice and facial expressions.
Foremost, the researchers hope to give future robots a more human face. But they also imagine their method being used to create avatars for video conferences, and possibly even to keep isolated seniors company.
The real terror fun here, of course, is that the projected face can belong to anyone, even you. All it really takes is a 2D photo, which a new program developed by the researchers can convert into a properly proportioned projection for a 3D mask. … Read more