Nexi, The Social Robot From MIT Goes For the Emo LookS

She may look miles away from crossing uncanny valley, but Nexi from MIT's Personal Robots Group is at least on the way. She's designed to be a "Mobile Social Dextrous" machine that moves like we do when we express emotions. So, she's got fully articulated arms and a head with features that can be motored around to form expressions. Acting out emotions, she's actually rather amazing, in a slightly sad robot kinda way: the video may send a few chills down your spine, no matter how "artificial" Nexi looks now.

Nexi is apparently about the size of a three year-old child, with dextrous hands, arms that can lift up to ten pounds of weight and two-wheel balancing movement, a little like a Segway. Each eye has a color camera, there's an IR camera in the forehead for 3D object perception and four microphones so sounds can be localized.

For now, Nexi is just a prototype, designed to explore human-machine interactions and social learning. It's not too hard to imagine a real product based on the design, though, is it? The team forsee robots like this having a role in healthcare, eldercare and education. [GizmoWatch]