New Robot Demands that Distracted User Pays Attention to It

Friday, 23 October 2015 - 3:09PM
Friday, 23 October 2015 - 3:09PM
Usually, even the most advanced robots will simply start talking to you without much noticing if you're paying attention. Now, a new robot made by researchers at Toyohashi University can read your body language and adjust its behavior accordingly, which hilariously includes bothering you until you pay attention to it.

talking bot japan

The robot, dubbed "Talking-Ally," has a camera on its "face" that can track a human's gaze, and its artificial intelligence determines a response that will be most likely to convince the user to pay attention. If the person is watching sports, for example, then it will pull sports news from an RSS feed. Even funnier, it will actively use its body language to try to get you to pay attention to it; it turns its head to try to maintain eye contact when the person turns away, and bends forward and nods at the person if they're watching television. 
"Talking-Ally dynamically determines and synchronizes its body language, turn initials, and entrust behaviors within the speech, according to the person's attention coordinates," co-author Professor Michio Okada told "Our analysis shows that this is significantly more persuasive than generating these behaviors randomly." 

Right now, Talking-Ally has a restricted set of behaviors and chooses one based on the user's level of engagement, but in the future, the researchers plan to teach the robot to choose its behaviors based on subtle cues from the person's body language. It would certainly be a major breakthrough in robotics if they could understand body language and other social cues, but it sounds like this research will make Talking-Ally even more annoying.

Via Popular Science.

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