ERWIN: A companion robot that shows its emotions and personality
Robots – the very term initiates reveries of those steadfast, glimmering humanoid contraptions doing our bidding without question. But beyond their shapes, is there is something more ‘humane’ about robots? Well, two British researchers – PhD student Mriganka Biswas and Prof. John Murray from the University of Lincoln, would like to believe so. In fact, they are looking forth to an ambit where robots can actually be friends to humans. Of course, the question naturally arises – what exactly does this scope of ‘friendship’ entail? According to the scientist duo, it involves the emotional attachment of the robot with its patron. As a result, they are developing the ERWIN (Emotional Robot with Intelligent Network), a robot that can be a companion to children or elderly people, by virtue of its intelligent network.
In a conventional scope, robots are not really designed to interact with humans on the emotional level. However, the ERWIN is different is from its brethrens with the ability to develop its own personality. This infused behavioural pattern is based on what scientists call cognitive bias, or the pattern of illogical thinking (a trait shown by humans). In other words, it is completely reverse to the rational actions undertaken by regular robotic entities.
So, the doubt arises – will the ERWIN also show the same ‘whimsical’ faults and idiosyncrasies as normal humans do? In short, the answer is – yes. In fact, it is ironically the imperfections that make ERWIN more human-like. However, the personality developed by the robot will be influenced in the long term by the interactions and the behaviors of the people around it.
This in turn alludes to a long term relationship that has to be built with the robot. And, just like a true friend or companion, ERWIN will reciprocate its ‘feelings’ through five basic human emotions.
Source: Lincoln University