Machines

Furhat, the Social Robot That Takes Any Face You Want

Some robots are meant to be pets. Others, delivery bots and museum guides. You look at them and you just know. Furhat is different, it is a shapeshifter robot.

We stopped Furhat and its creator, Preben Wik, Co-founder of Furhat Robotics, for a quick chat during Bucharest Tech Week. The two of them took part in the Innovation Summit, since the robot is quite a game-changer, presumably the most advanced social robot in the world.

Not only does Furhat have a friendly appearance thanks to a humanoid mask and projected face features, but it can also adapt to any situation required, in any social environment.

“What we are building, at Furhat Robotics, is a social robotics platform, something that enables people to build human-robot interactions in an easier and more robust way”, explained Preben Wik.

Furhat can provide companionship, attend to customers, train or interview potential employees and teach a new language – after all, it knows around 40 languages!

The robotics company does not sell Furhat as a consumer product, but it is open to lending it for events or partnering up with businesses (like Disney Research) to come up with the robot that fits their needs. Together, using their RDK, Furhat can play the part of the assistant, interviewer, babysitter, fantasy character or pet.

The result is not zombie-like, as we’ve seen with many humanoid robots today thanks to Furhat’s decision to rely on graphics: “In software, we get the power of computer graphics that you have in games, movies and so on. There we can do things much better.”

Yes, Furhat can turn into an Avatar character or a dog, thanks to the versatile masks at its disposal. Once customization is done, you can talk to it about everything and anything.

I think robots will replace many humans. In the future. At the moment, robots are replacing iPads

In our interview above, watch Preben Wik explain the development process, give us a sneak peek into what goes behind the mask and listen to Furhat speak openly about the robots vs humans at work debate!

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