The late Philip K Dick wrote a number of science fiction stories, one of which became the basis for the popular movie Blade Runner, that touched upon the ironies of robot self-awareness. Hanson Robotics has collaborated with the Automation and Robotics Research Institute at UTA and Paul Williams, a former literary executor to Dick, to create a memorial android that embodies not only Dick but the ironies that infused his work.
The life-size Philip K Dick memorial android is capable of recognizing a face loaded into its memory; and it will follow you with its eyes as well as turn its head and converse with you when you enter its space. Its skin is made of “frubber,” a light-weight, pliable proprietary material developed by David Hanson that enables the robot to present a wide range of facial expressions. In the photo of the TV monitor, the robot is actually looking at a mirror. The image it sees is displayed on the monitor image shown here—in effect, you are looking through the robot’s eyes as it looks at itself. Speech recognition and synthesis software in this robot is among the most advanced in robotics. Visit www.hansonrobotics.com for the fascinating details.