Photo credit: IEEE Spectrum
Some people may need an M-81 robotic dog equipped with an RPG-26 rocket launcher, while others just want a hug. Meet HuggieBot 3.0. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, ETH Zurich, and the University of Copenhagen created slightly creepy autonomous robot capable of intra-hug gestures to improve mood.
Put simply, it’s just a basic torso equipped with two six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) padded robot arms. It boasts inflatable chambers that can be filled with warm air or deflated, complete with pressure sensors. Controlling everything is a 3D-printed head with an Ubuntu 14.04 desktop computer concealed inside, along with an ROS Kinetic, an Intel RealSense depth-sensing camera, a speaker, as well as a display for showing animated faces.
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Hugging HuggieBot 3.0 is (in my humble and unbiased opinion) really enjoyable. We are not trying to fool anyone by saying that it feels like hugging a person, because it does not. You’re hugging a robot, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyable,” said Alexis E. Block, author to IEEE Spectrum.