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Consumer Reports

Robots put a smile on | (UPI) -- Robots of the future will be able to smile, frown and sneer on cue, as well as respond appropriately to human facial expressions, says the creator of one such prototype.

Doctoral student David Hanson of the University of Texas at Dallas has built K-bot, an artificial human face equipped with "infinite possible expressions," which he said can mimic the human face and respond to sociably to people.

K-bot cost only about $400 to build, Hanson told United Press International, although its software sometimes fails to perform. Indeed, one of his attempts to display the device -- at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this week -- fell apart when K-bot refused to respond.

K-bot has a repertoire of 28 different basic expressions using 24 controls that Hanson calls "fake muscles." It weighs about 4 pounds and has a polymer skin that stretches and bends much like human flesh. Its eyes house two cameras that convey human expressions to software that -- when it works -- allows K-bot to mimic and respond to them.

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