Thursday, September 13, 2007

Artificial Boy


At 17 inches tall and 6 pounds, the artificial Zeno is the culmination
of five years of work by Hanson and a small group of engineers,
designers and programmers at his company, Hanson Robotics. They believe
there's an emerging business in the design and sale of lifelike robotic
companions, or social robots. And they'll be showing off the robot boy
to students in grades 3-12 at the Wired NextFest technology conference
Thursday in Los Angeles.

"It sees you and recognizes your face. It learns your name and can build a relationship with you."

He plans to make little Zenos available to consumers within the next three years for $200 to $300.

Until then, Hanson, 37, makes a living selling and renting pricey,
lifelike robotic heads. His company offers models that look like Albert Einstein,
a pirate and a rocker, complete with spiky hair and sunglasses. They
cost tens of thousands of dollars and can be customized to look like
anyone, Hanson said.

The company, which has yet to break even, was also buoyed by a $1.5 million grant from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund last October

Article Link (AP)

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