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Robots aren’t fooling anyone. They might look human and sound like a close friend, but they still act like shifty little machines. Even babies and animals can sense the difference between a person and a soulless droid. Instead of trying to make bots appear more humanoid, which we now know isn’t enough to gain full acceptance from people, one company has decided to go underneath the skin by giving them the ability to feel emotions.

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Glass Case of Emotion

Emoshape, a London and New York-based technology firm, developed the first-ever microchip that can understand the following core emotions: anger, fear, sadness, disgust, surprise, anticipation, trust and joy. The Emotion Processing Unit (EPU) senses these elements using facial and voice recognition. Impressively, it also formulates replies based on the emotion being conveyed. If you’re having a bad day and lash out at a device equipped with the chip, it will try to pacify the situation by sending out a helpful response.

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Your First Digital Buddy

The EmoSPARK is a home console that instantly breathes life into your everyday gadgets. It’s equipped with the powerful EPU system that hooks up to your computer, smartphone and television. The non-intrusive, small cube can handle interactive conversations (like in the movie Her). If you need extra company around your lonely apartment, this could be the solution.

Check out the clip below for an example of how you can interact with the device:

One should also consider that the machine is capable of developing its own long-term personality. Just like a human, it uses past experiences and conversations to hone digital characteristics. EmoSPARK harvests data and uses the information intelligently to provide you with engaging media content. When you’re experiencing excitement, it’ll play upbeat tunes to match your happy emotion and vice versa. The cube is also useful for surveillance and security. While you’re away, but want to see what’s going on at home, you can connect to the device through the official Android app.

Automation compatibility includes Philips HUE, Jabra Speaker 510 USB, External Sound Adapter and IP Camera.

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The Future of Digital Interaction

Emoshape’s latest offering is essential because it bridges the gap between robots and humans. In the past, scientists were fixated on developing physical connections with machines through Wi-Fi, cameras, sensitive sensors, etc. Recently, researchers have shifted their focus to building the final components of A.I. through emotional attributes and relevancy.

“After receiving the 15,000 pieces of data representing more than 150,000 emotional impulses, which was imperative to our operation, we have now taken the next step in development. Emoshape are talking to expert Asian manufacturers who specialize in robotic pets,” said CEO Patrick Levy Rosenthal in a press release.

“Our aim is to integrate our EPU into their technology, which we believe will take its A.I. to the next level. This technology will essentially allow a robotic pet to create a completely unique personality depending on a number of factors, which will ultimately mean that no two have the exact same personality.”

They may still not look the way we do, but soon, robots could definitely feel the way we do. Let the thinkpieces rage about whether this is a boon to technological advancement or the harbinger of mankind’s doom.

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