You know when you're trying to hide your feelings? Your friends think something might be up, but they're not quite sure? Well, a robot has arrived and its only job is to put on your friend's face, analyse your feelings, and chat to you about it. Oh, and it's just a disembodied torso and a head. Say hi to SociBot-Mini!
Designed by a Cornwall-based robotics company called Engineered Arts, SociBot-Mini is a robot that uses a depth-sensing camera to capture and recognise your gestures, which it uses to analyse your moods in order to hold a basic conversation with you. "It'll become a butler who knows you inside," Will Jackson told New Scientist, before admitting that SociBot-Mini can also be "spooky as all hell".
In case the idea of a disembodied torso talking to you about your feelings creeps you out, you can decide what face it wears. SociBot-Mini's head is backlit with a digital projector, so the robot can create its own face, complete with reactions – it can either wear a generic computer-designed face, or a headshot that you've uploaded. So if any narcissists out there have ever wanted to hold a scintillating conversation with themselves, this is for you.
Engineering Arts see the SociBot-Mini as a tool that could eventually be integrated into everyday life, such as an information terminal in the places like banks, airports or supermarkets. If their planned Kickstarter is successful, then they hope to manufacture a cheaper, slimmed down version for domestic use.
Listen, we all saw Her and enjoyed it, but I'm just not ready for this. You can watch the SociBot-Mini in action here:
Follow Thomas Gorton on Twitter here @angstromhoot