Androgenoid Jules is a humanoid robot that now has a new capability; it uses its own software to match the facial expressions of nearby human beings. Jules' smile is as real as software and Frubber can make it.
Jules the robotic head is closer, though; even though it seems a bit creepy. The paradigm of robots and aliens gaining the trust of humans by imitating their facial expressions is as old as science fiction movies.
Take a look at this video showing the creation of Jules by the Hanson robotics team.
(Hanson Robotics Jules Robotic head video)
The system uses a camera to focus on the face of a human bystander, and then analyzes the results. The robot is able to respond with any of ten programmed emotions. The project was developed at Bristol Robotics Laboratory, a lab run by the University of the West of England and the University of Bristol under the leadership of Chris Melhuish, Neill Campbell and Peter Jaeckel.
The eventual intent is to create robotic companions or assistants in hospitals that are able to appear more empathetic toward people.
Tired of looking at unmoving, metallic robot faces?