A heart for the tin man

Generals and industrialists aren't the only ones thinking about the future of robots. More sensitive souls are considering the emotional impact these machines will have on us. For example, the Bristol Robotic Institute has developed the Heart Robot. This puppet-like bot mimics breathing and has a mechanism that feels like a beating heart.

"Does it make our world a much more emotionally sophisticated place when we're actually able to relate to our artifacts the way we relate to one another? Or does it make us value emotional and social relationships less because there are these artifacts that do it just as well and we can switch them off?"

BRI's mission is to understand the science, engineering and social role of robotics and embedded intelligence. Their multidisciplinary approach aims to create autonomous devices capable of working independently, with each other, or with us in our human society.

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