New robot toy uses ‘emotions’ to interact with people

Combining a bit of movie magic and state-of-the-art technology, a California start-up has unveiled a new type of robot, which is packed with personality.

Meet Cozmo – an adorable toy robot packed with some serious technology.

The small robot is an interactive buddy that can play with puzzles and speed games while using machine learning to get to know its user.

State-of-the-art tech aside, a whole team of Hollywood animators gave Cozmo some personality – think Disney’s Wall-E or R2D2 from Star Wars.

Hans Tappeiner, co-founder and president of of Anki, the company behind Cozmo, says: “In a movie a lot of things are happening automatically. The technology inside of Cozmo is to take a character like that and really bring him to life in the real world.”

Cozmo’s artificial intelligence program is based on human emotions. ‘Feelings’ programmed into the robots digital ‘brain’ such as happiness, anger and excitement, compete for control of its operating system . . . as real emotions would in a human brain.

The robot is also equipped with computer vision which allows it to recognize who it’s playing with, along with an array other sensors – all aimed at giving Cozmo a clearer picture of its surrounding environment.

“The computer vision system which recognizes facial expressions, happy, sad, angry surprised is already fully-functional and implemented. We don’t use it yet but in one of the next App updates very soon from now we are going to be using that as well,” Hans Tappeiner added.

That would give Cozmo a way to know how you’re feeling just by looking at you . . . another level of sophistication for one of the cutest robots on the market.