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Two robots that can alter their facial expressions and make some basic gestures are being tested out by researchers at the University of Lincoln.
They are trying to work out if people feel more comfortable interacting with a robot if it looks as though it has a basic grasp of human emotions.
In the future the team hopes the study could lead to a new generation of robots that are capable of building relationships with people as James Webster reports.
One of the scientists studying the reactions of people to robots that display facial expressions says this should allow the development of robots capable of relationships with humans. Dr John Murray hopes the research shows them more about how people react to different types of android:
Scientists at the University of Lincoln who are testing two new robots hope the project leads to a new generation of androids that humans feel more comfortable interacting with. They are looking at how new robots can be designed to show emotion to allow people to trust and understand them better.
The project team say such new robots could act as companions, perhaps working with the elderly, or with children with conditions such as autism, Asperger syndrome or attachment disorder. Existing robots lack identifiable human characteristics that prevent humans developing a bond with them.
Scientists will compare the effects of giving robots facial expressions and gestures with how people react to a robot which has no 'emotional' expression.
Two very different robots, capable of expressing emotions, are being tested at the University of Lincoln to see what responses they provoke from people. One can display five different facial expressions including happy, sad or surprised. The other can move its head and arms to create gestures.