David Hanson brings robots to life

David Hanson brings robots to life

PEOPLE | David Hanson has turned it into his mission to bring robots to life, attempting to enable them to think and feel. And he does so impressively well. We are big fans!


David Hanson is an American robotics designer and researcher, who builds robots with character. They are humanlike robots with realistic facial expressions and conversational abilities, granting them "sparks of true consciousness and creativity". Hanson robots include the world’s first expressive biped robot, Albert-Hubo, heralded by WIRED as “genius”, and the small Zeno robot, a low-cost child robot who is evolving into a family member. Hanson's robots serve a wide range of science and engineering research, including autism therapy, artificial intelligence and machine perception, neuroscience and cognitive science, mechanical engineering, and artificial muscle actuator research.


The bold appearance of life in Hanson robots springs from the synthesis of biology, neurally-derived cognitive systems, machine perception, artistry of interactive character design, animation, and sculpture, and the expressive quality of Hanson’s patented Frubber, or “flesh rubber”, which is a spongy, structured elastic polymer that expertly mimics the movement of real human musculature and skin.


Author of this article: Steffie Verstappen


David Hanson visited THNK! Watch the complete interview on the Activities page

Interested to learn more or have a peek at his impressive work to date? Have a look at David Hanson's website here.


Watch David Hanson's 2009 TEDTalk on robots that show emotion, below: