Morphy Nanny Robot Teaches, Learns From Babies

Morphy, a small metallic robot, was programmed to copy basic human social skills. An experiment was devised to test whether or not babies would interact with the robot in a manner similar to the way they interacted with people.


(Morphy with Andrew Meltzoff and Rajesh Rao )

During the experiment, 64 babies individually sat on their parents' lap facing Rechele Brooks, a co-author of the UW study. The babies played with toys for a few minutes to get used to the environment and then Brooks revealed Morphy, who was hidden behind a barrier. Following a script, Brooks said, "Oh, hi! That's our robot!" and asked Morphy if it wanted to play a game. Controlled by a researcher hidden from the baby, Morphy responded by waving its arms and shaking its head. Brooks then asked, "Where is your tummy?" and "Where is your head?" and the robot pointed to its torso and head. Then Brooks demonstrated arm movements and Morphy imitated them. All the while, the babies watched, looking back and forth as if at a ping pong match.

Then when Brooks excused herself from the room, researchers measured whether the baby would interact with and take cues from the robot as if it was a sentient being. When the robot looked at a toy in the room, 13 out of 16 babies, who had watched the robot play with Brooks, followed the robot's gaze as compared to a control group in which babies did not see Morphy engage in games. Only 3 of 16 of these babies turned to where the robot was looking.

"Remember, the robot did not directly interact with the child. The child simply observed as the adult and the robot communicated," said Meltzoff. "Yet, they were deeply influenced by what they saw."

Science fiction fans recognize this development as being one of a series of steps that leads to sfnal robots like Nanny from Philip K. Dick's 1955 short story Nanny:

Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom. Her surface had been sprayed with a dull green enamel, which had become chipped and gouged through wear. There was not much visible in addition to the eye stalks. The treads could not be seen. On each side of the hull was the outline of a door. From these the magnetic grapples came, when they were needed. The front of the hull came to a point, and there the metal was reinforced.

Via Red Orbit.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 11/22/2010)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Robotics ")

Autonomous Robots Navigate Like Rats
'Out of warrens in the wall, tiny robot mice darted.' - Ray Bradbury, 1950.

SINTEF Robot Cleans Solar Panels
'The window cleaners, with large padded feet...' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1972.

How Rude! DARPA Wants Robots To Behave More Like Threepio
'Do I know protocol? Why, it's my primary function.' - George Lucas, 1976.

Buddy Companion Robot Your Bulbous Friend
'Nanny was built in the shape of a sphere, a large metal sphere, flattened on the bottom...' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Desktopography Makes Virtual Desktops Real
'Ender doodled on his desk, drawing contour maps of mountainous islands and then telling his desk to display them in three dimensions...'

LaWS Laser Can Take Out Rogue Drones
Looks like a weapon for the Runaway squad!

Moon Express Lunar Robot Mining: Shine On, Harvest Moon
'The bulldozer moved through the lunar strip mine... '

Liquid Body Armor For TALOS Exoskeleton
'... instantly became rigid all over when something struck it...'

Hyperloop One Video Shows It Works!
'Complete evacuation of the interior of the tubes [and] a wave that provides the new propulsive energy for the cars...'

Chairless Chair Exoskeleton By Sapetti
'Earth's scientists... devised rigid metallic clothing...'

Publishing Technologies In Science Fiction
Well, this should be enough references to start...

Russia Working On Military Exoskeletons
'Вы похожи на большую стальную гориллу...'

3D Printed Bionic Chinese Skin
Your skin is ready!

Flexup Tire Design Good For Tumblebugs
'Each spoke telescopes into five sections.'

3D Printed Graphene Aerogel - So Light!
'... light as cork and stronger than steel...'

Asteroid Deflection With DART
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'

Translate One2One From IBM's Watson Your Communication Solution
'It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix...'

News Now Philip K. Dick's Bailiwick
'A vast complex electronic organism... responsible to no one...'

Autonomous BADGER Robot Drilling Machine
'The compacted matter... makes a better tunnel lining than concrete, don't you think?'

TALOS Exoskeleton Development Proceeding
'Suited up, you look like a big steel gorilla...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.