Dave McGoran of the University of West England has built what he calls the Heart Robot, a semihumanoid doll that "appreciates" affection. Covered in a variety of sensors, Heart Robot responds to your attentions with a range of expressive and, to be honest, unsettling tools: batting eyelids, a beating heart and pleasant purring, to name a few.
Its designer claims that the Heart Robot is an example of soon-to-be common "emotional machines," which along with providing entertainment to customers, could be used in hospital rehabilitation scenarios as well. Heart looks like he might be a little fun to play with, but due to the fact that he looks terminally ill and has a serious case of perma-sad I can't imagine this droopy, disconcerting robot doing a whole lot of good around the children's ward.
In an attempt to humanize the creature, the BBC strung together a sort of plot for the Heart Robot. In this video he uses all of his creepy, pathetic wile to woo an exposed, ugly Hexapod mate. It's like the first half of Wall-E, if Wall-E starred a giant elf fetus and one of those upside-down skull spiders from Doom 3. [BBC via BoingBoing Gadgets]