Robot Toddler Learns to Walk, Talk, Behave Like a Human

"Robots can be loved too," inventor says
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2007 8:14 PM CDT
David Hanson, right, holds his son Zeno on his lap as the two look at Hansons' Robot creation, also named, Zeno, at his office in Richardson, Texas, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2007. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Zeno is an energetic toddler learning to walk and talk. He’s also a robot, the brainchild of engineer David Hanson. Hanson's Texas company has been working on lifelike “social robots” for five years and says they are akin to any other artist’s sculpture or painting. “We’re trying to make a new art medium out of robotics,” Hanson told the AP.

Zeno, whose face is composed of skin-like material and derives intelligence wirelessly from a PC, can recognize faces, learn names, and build relationships with humans. “Robots can seem real and be loved too,” Hanson says. But he is aware of what he calls the "uncanny valley" theory—that humans appreciate semi-lifelike robots but are disturbed by overly realistic androids.