This Chinese University Has Unveiled An Emotional Humanoid Robot At An AI Conference

Fudan University in Shanghai has unveiled an emotional humanoid robot designed to provide elderly care and healthcare services. The robot, named Guanghua No 1, was introduced at the 2024 World Artificial Intelligence Conference on Thursday. It stands at 165 cm tall, weighs about 62 kg, and is the only humanoid robot developed by the university among the 18 showcased at the conference this year.

Guanghua No 1 is unique in its ability to display facial expressions and respond emotionally, equipped with 45 intelligent joints and a hierarchical generative embodied brain model. This sophisticated structure allows the robot to move its hands and walk upright. It can express four emotions—happiness, anger, sadness, and joy on its facial screen.

The development of Guanghua No 1 addresses the growing demands of China’s ageing population. Gan Zhongxue, deputy dean of the Academy for Engineering & Technology of Fudan University, emphasized that elderly care and health services are critical areas for humanoid robot application. The vision is to create a “health companion” capable of providing personalized and empathetic care for the elderly.

“The primary cause of developing this robot was to address the emotional needs of the elderly,” Gan stated. “Providing care with an emotionless, mechanical entity would fail to offer the warmth akin to that of a family member. Genuine care necessitates emotional intelligence.” The robot’s emotional intelligence is inspired by brain-based motivation and dopamine reward mechanisms, utilizing multilevel coordinated incentive algorithms to generate humanlike perceptions and behaviors.

While predicting the complexity and nuance of human emotions remains a challenge, Guanghua No 1 represents a significant step forward. The robot has been in development for the past two years, involving experts from mechanics, biology, engineering, computer science, and big data. A trial version is planned for release by the end of the year, with extensive testing ongoing in provinces like Jiangsu and Zhejiang. These tests aim to improve the robot’s accuracy, safety, and ability to assist the elderly with daily tasks.

Emotionally intelligent robots like Guanghua No 1 may not fully replicate human emotional depth, but they hold significant potential to aid the elderly, especially in healthcare settings.

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