Morphy looks at a toy while researchers measure whether an 18-month-old baby will follow the robot's gaze.
The University of Washington's infant-robotics team programmed a metal robot named Morphy to copy some basic human social skills. Then, in an experiment, researchers measured whether 18-month-old babies would interact with and take cues from the robot as if it was a sentient being. When the robot looked at a toy in the room, 13 out of 16 babies, who had watched the robot play with a researcher who also was part of the experiment, followed the robot's gaze as compared to a control group in which babies did not see Morphy interact with the researcher. Only 3 of 16 of these babies turned to where the robot was looking.
Credit: Reprinted from Neural Networks, Volume 23, Issues 8-9, October-November 2010, pages 966-972; "Social" robots are psychological agents for infants: A test of gaze following; Andrew N. Meltzoff, Rechele Brooks, Aaron P. Shon and Rajesh P.N. Rao; Figure 5; © 2010, with permission from Elsevier.
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