The shrinking workforce devoted to the care of the elderly and the young might be heading towards a solution in 2016. As the New Year begins, a new development in the field of robotics has emerged. A humanoid, named Nadine, has been unveiled by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in an effort towards creating robots classified as humanoids. Nadine's creator and doppelganger, Prof. Nadia Thalmann, shared that the emergence of humanoids can eventually lead to more innovations in the field of social care. Thalmann is a widely known expert in the field virtual humans. She is also a member of the faculty at NTU's School of Computer Engineering.
According to the NTU's official press release, Nadine was made to have soft skin and a shoulder length brunette hair - much like that of Thalmann's. The humanoid can also exhibit different emotions when interacting with human beings. Unlike the typical robots, Nadine has a distinct personality and also experiences various moods.
She has the ability to look at her guests in the eye when speaking to them as well as smile and nod on all the correct parts of the conversations. She can also shakes hands with people. Her emotions adjust according to the conversations as well. Apart from these, Nadine is capable of remembering the people whom she has interacted with and can recall their previous conversations with her. At the moment, Nadine is a receptionist at the NTU.
"Robotics technologies have advanced significantly over the past few decades and are already being used in manufacturing and logistics," said Thalmann of the invention. She added, "As countries worldwide face challenges of an aging population, social robots can be one solution to address the shrinking workforce, become personal companions for children and the elderly at home, and even serve as a platform for healthcare services in future."
Nadine is powered by the same intelligent software used by Apple in the creation of Siri and in Microsoft's Cortana. The humanoid creation of Thalmann is identified as a social robot, which makes it highly useful for those in need of a personal assistant both at home and in the office.
"Over the past four years, our team at NTU have been fostering cross-disciplinary research in social robotics technologies - involving engineering, computer science, linguistics, psychology and other fields - to transform a virtual human, from within a computer, into a physical being that is able to observe and interact with other humans."