Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014

A virtual toddler who smiles and learns like humans

Express News Service | Posted: August 28, 2014 11:04 am

No messy floors, and absolutely no nappy changes – meet a toddler who will impress you with her intelligence and entertain you with her warm smiles and giggles. But what you will not get to do is to touch her. Meet Baby X, a virtual toddler developed by the Auckland Bioengineering Institute Laboratory for Animate Technologies in New Zealand.

So how does the baby’s brain (virtual) work?

Her ‘brain’ is in the form of a computer algorithms that mimic neural behaviour of real infants. And the movements and expressions of her face on screen are devised from actual movements of babies, reports Daily Mail.

She can interact with you via a camera on a computer and, using facial recognition, can tell when someone is talking to her. She can hear words, comprehend it and make sense of sounds.

For example, praising the baby will release virtual dopamine hormone, causing it to smile and giggle on screen. Hiding from the baby on the other hand will cause levels of the cortisol to climb, which will increase BabyX’s stress levels.

It’s not a system based on neuroscience, however, but rather through analysis of faces and how certain situations affect the brain.

‘We are developing multidisciplinary technologies to create interactive autonomously animated systems which will define the next generation of human computer interaction and facial animation,’ the researchers write on their website.

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