Furhat Robotics, a Stockholm-based tech startup company, has created a new robot. Or, rather, the head of a robot, but for what they’ve got planned for it, just the head is plenty. Named “Furhat” after the company, this robot is made up of a head mounted on a speaker box and, more interestingly, a screen for a face that projects facial features and mouth movements. According to the company, Furhat can interact with humans the way humans interact with each other, at least as far as voice and facial expressions are concerned.
Via a wide-angle, high-fidelity camera, Furhat is always observing and processing the world around it. With real-time processing, it can react to a human conversing with it while making realistic, emotional facial expressions and constant eye contact. Speaking of faces, Furhat’s digital face is completely customizable. It can replicate any human facial structure, gender, and skin tone, or, if you’re feeling wacky, it has several silly cartoon faces like a bulldog.
Unlike many recent smart robotic advancements, Furhat isn’t intended for home use, but business use. Furhat Robotics believes Furhat could effectively be utilized in the front of stores and businesses as a greeter and directory assistant, as well as a vocal trainer and language teacher. Furhat is close to being commercially viable, so don’t freak out if the next time you come to an office, there’s a robot behind the reception desk.