Speaking at technology conference TechXLR8 in London, Dr. David Hanson, founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics has announced that it has partnered with Disney to bring artificially intelligent robots of it's creations to life.
Hanson Robotics is famous for creating robots with human expressions and mannerisms. But the vision for Hanson Robotics goes far beyond the mimicry of human emotion. According to Hanson, it wants to create robots that "will have emotional intelligence matching - and one day surpassing - human emotional intelligence".
This may sound like a lofty goal, but Hanson believes this is achievable through the use of artificial intelligence; Hanson robots learn from interactions with humans, and then their behavior changes based on what they have learnt.
This means that when your child interacts with their little robot pal, it will actually be able to talk back, and learn about your child.
A whole new world
This isn't the first time that Hanson Robotics has made a commercial robot, having already created a Professor Einstein robot that can waddle around your house and teach your kids about science. According to the Professor Einstein Kickstarter page, the little educational robots are "now shipping to the US, UK, Canada and Hong Kong."
Which Disney character is going to be the first to get the AI treatment is still undisclosed. Although given Disney's current robot partnership with Sphero on the (absolutely brilliant) Lightning McQueen remote control car, and BB-8 toy, it is clear that Disney is capitalizing on successful movie characters.
Given the success of Frozen, we wouldn't be at all surprised if Elsa is the first smart Disney robot to be wandering around our homes. Hanson used a slide of Elsa to demonstrate how humans are drawn to characters with human features. Plus, with Frozen 2 on the way, a marketing tie-in makes a lot of sense.
If you can't wait to get your hands on one of these Disney devices, we've got some good news: The plan is for a launch in 2018.
If you've never seen Hanson Robotic's creations before, check out it's Sophia robot on Jimmy Fallon below:
- Want to know a bit more about the incredible Lightning McQueen toy? Check out our article.
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Andrew London is a writer at Velocity Partners. Prior to Velocity Partners, he was a staff writer at Future plc.