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Human-Like Robot Steals Show at GMIC 2016 in Beijing

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Published on May 2, 2016

One of the world's largest tech events, the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) 2016, wrapped up on Monday in Beijing after thousands of tech enthusiasts descended upon the Chinese capital to check out the latest gadgets, including the coolest and most advanced robots.

With "Mobile Infinity" being the theme of the event, human-like robots stole the show.

Hanson Robotics, led by Dr. David Hanson, brought its newest robot "Sophia" to life during the five-day event on Friday.

Sophia's skin is made from silicon, and she can show more than 62 facial expressions. She can speak English and even Mandarin Chinese.

"Hello everybody, I'm Sophia, the latest robot from Hanson Robotics. I'm proud to be here at GMIC in beautiful Beijing, China," she impressively introduced herself, and later said in Chinese, "Hello China, hello everyone."

"We're scaling the manufacturing of our 'Sophia' robot platform to address entertainment, customer service and medical applications. She is an incredibly natural looking robot within Artificial Intelligence that allows her to see faces, understand speech, and show a full range of natural facial expressions," said David Hanson, founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics.

"We are selling to our customer partners, and eventually we will have a mass release of 'Sophia'. We expect that she will be very useful in China for helping teach science, and perform many other kinks of helper applications," said Hanson.

Cameras inside her eyes, combined with computer algorithms, enable her to see, follow faces, make eye contact and recognize individuals.

A combination of Alphabet's Google Chrome voice recognition system and other technologies enable Sophia to process speech, chat and get smarter over time.

Robots are also moving ahead at the robotics lab of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or the MIT, and some believe that four-legged robots will become more popular than the human-liked ones, since they are more useful.

"Quadruple-ped and four-legged machines, they are much more robust. Everybody is fascinated by human-like robots, but in my opinion, I think four-legged machines are going to be much more practical and much more robust. So we are thinking about achieving mobility first and try to use these robots in very dangerous environments, power plants, and disaster situations, and then even oil refinery where there is a lot of chemical hazards and high temperatures, low temperatures. You can name it, you can think of so many situations where robots perform much better than humans," said Sangbae Kim, an associate professor of the Biometric Robotics lab of MIT.

Kim built a robotic cheetah which can see and jump over hurdles as it runs, making it the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously.
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