Scientists at the University of Osaka in Japan have created a strikingly-realistic child robot which can ‘ feel ‘ pain. The robot, called Affetto, was first revealed back in 2011, but the team has now incorporated synthetic skin which enables the robot to detect pressure changes.
The researchers, led by Minoru Asada, explained: “Engineers and material scientists have developed a new tactile sensor and attached it to a child robot called Affetto that has a realistic face and body skeleton covered in artificial ‘skin.’
“Affetto can discriminate soft and hard touches from the detected signals, and studies show that attaching skin sensors to Affetto helps it avoid ‘pain.’”
Affetto responds to touches with a variety of facial expressions, including smiling, frowning and grimacing.
Speaking in 2018, Hisashi Ishihara from Osaka University explained: “Android robot faces have persisted in being a black box problem: they have been implemented but have only been judged in vague and general terms.
While this might sound cruel, the researchers hope the robot will help humans to have deeper interactions with androids in the future.
Mr Asada added: “’ Social’ robots are being programmed to show empathetic reactions to pain in others through a mirroring mechanism similar to that reported in humans.”