Infanoid | Keepon | ClayBot
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The goals of "understanding humanity" and "humanizing robots" are tightly related to each other. CareBots Project is trying to relate robotics to human sciences in order to understand the underlying mechanism of social communication specific to humans and some species of primates.

photo: Keepon looking at a toy photo: Infanoid pointing with the index finger

Early communication between a child and caregiver is mainly embodied through touch and eye-contact. By investigating the developmental mechanism of the embodied interaction, we are trying to study the core human communication capabilities and design principles for future info-communication systems with which we can make symbiotic relationships.

A child and caregiver start communicating by conveying emotions through their gaze (eye-contact), touch, voice, and facial expressions; this exchange expands into the one of attention, where both look at the same object/event and then look at each other (joint attention). Conveying emotions and attention in this way, the child and the caregiver share the awareness of a topical target and the emotional attitudes towards the target. Thus, the child can learn the meaning and value of various objects and events in the world, which lead her to acquisition of language and culture.

For constructing and evaluating an engineering model of social development, we developed a child-like robot, Infanoid, and a creature-like robot, Keepon. Currently, we are implementing the social development on these robots; also we are observing and analyzing how human children interact with these robots. We believe these two complementary activities will help us to model social communication and its development during the first years of life. In addition, we are transferring the research outcomes to our society by utilizing the robots in the remedy for children with developmental disorders and by organizing a series of international academic workshops "Epigenetic Robotics".

The web pages of CareBots Project is open to public under the Creative Commons licence (BY-NC), unless otherwise specified.