Emoting robot planned as future caregiver

Prototype machine can express anger, shock and joy

Robot doctor

Robots come in all shapes and sizes these days, but Kobian from Japanese firm Tmsuk is definitely the first we've seen that can bawl its eyes out.

The bipedal 'droid has been developed by Tmsuk with Waseda University in Tokyo to meet a perceived need for robots that can emote properly and make better connections with people.

Autonomy planned

Specifically, they say their goal is to create a machine that will be useful for working with elderly people in nursing homes.

Quite why the developers have given Kobian the ability to wipe away pretend tears or raise its arms and act overjoyed is anyone's guess, but the more subtle expressions created by moving facial features with motors is clearly a useful first step.

So far, Kobian only reacts as programmed, but the team plans to bestow it with autonomy before letting it loose on the world.