Furhat Robots Have Neither Fur Nor a Hat

The Swedish company says "the world's most advanced social robot" communicates by speaking, listening and maintaining eye contact.

Furhat Robotics is a company based out of Stockholm, Sweden, that has created a social robot. They call it "the world's most advanced social robot," and it communicates with humans by speaking, listening, showing emotions and, most importantly, maintaining eye contact. This week, the company launched a new version of the Furhat robot with a new SDK and a sleek new design.

Furhat comes with a set of expressions and gestures that are customizable, so the robot could be used as a customer service rep, provide companionship, train employees and even teach new languages.

As you can see from the face lineup, you can talk to anything from an androgynous robot to the na'vi, or your basic male and female. According to the company, the only limit is your own imagination, and when it comes to that companionship robot, I feel like that limit will most certainly be pushed.

The system weighs about 8 pounds (3.5 kg) and has a pair of speakers in the front. According to the company, it offers text-to-speech voices in over 30 languages — you can even record your own voice (hopefully it's not as robotic at the early versions from 2014).

The robot uses an HD camera with computer vision as well as a face tracking system, and the neck has three degrees of freedom and what it calls “natural neck motion”.

Hey, at least it’s not as creepy as the HRP-4C out of Japan, or Sophia out of Hong Kong.

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