Robots might be the future, but there is still plenty of work that needs to be done before they become our everyday, doting assistants to replace maids. Well, progress needs to be made in the field of coaxing expressions out of a robot’s face, and CITEC Bielefeld’s anthropomorphic robot head known as FloBi might be a stepping stone to that vision. It has recently received an upgrade that comes with an affordable and simple motion-capture setup. This expressive robotic head comes with modular parts so that you are able to insert different sections of the head in order to create a male or female robot.
For the motion-capture setup, it comprises a helmet with a single camera that is pointed at your face. Capable of tracking your eyes, eyelids, brows, and mouth thanks to the clever use of color markers while an X-IMU (internal measurement unit) detects overall head rotation, this recorded motion can be viewed using a virtual model as well, or to have it played back on the actual robot. This translates to the entire gamut of motions being recorded in a jiffy from an actual person, and you get lifelike and realistic eye movements on the robot’s face. There is still plenty of work that needs to be done, especially where lip-synching is concerned, but this is quite a jump.