July 26 - A researcher at the National University of Singapore is attempting to develop a robot that has the ability to love like a human being. Ben Gruber reports.
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STORY: For Hooman Samani, it's a labour of love. Samani and his team of researchers at the National University of Singapore have developed a robot named "Lovotics", a machine designed to imitate the human ability to love.
The robot resembles a mound of white fur and when it's falling in love it gets close and flashes different colours. Samani says he based the robots programming on the interactions between two people in love.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) KEIO-NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF SINGAPORE RESEARCHER HOOMAN SAMANI, SAYING:
"Those people who are dating, if they are interested, they try to mirror each others' behaviour, from movements of the bodies, to gestures, everything. So this robot is also trying to do that to increase the probability of love."
Lovotics is fitted with built-in microphones, cameras and other sensors allowing it to recognise it's user and hopefully build a long term relationship.
He took Lovotics to a local eatery to see if the furry robot could find some love. Unfortunately love at first sight was no where to be found.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) 33-YEAR-OLD JUNE LOH, SAYING:
"I think it will be more interesting if it has more colours, it will make it more attractive and it seems that now it doesn't have any eyes, only a nose."
(SOUNDBITE) (English) 29-YEAR-OLD RUWEI CHUA, SAYING:
"I think the concept is pretty good, as in a robot that can love."
Samani says there is still a long way to go before his robot is perfected. He also says his robot learned a tough but important lesson. Sometimes...love hurts.
Ben Gruber, Reuters.
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