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The Rainbow Research Group at the University of Cambridge, which looks at how interactions between people and computers can be improved, has been conducting a series of experiments with robots developed to detect, analyse and respond to human emotions.
In a University of Cambridge video released in December, the Rainbow team described its work on developing 'mind-reading machines', or computers that infer people's emotional states by monitoring facial expressions and body language.
"The problem is that computers don't react to how I feel," professor Peter Robinson of Cambridge University says in the video. "Whether I'm pleased or annoyed, they just ignore me."
In this picture, Robinson (left) demonstrates interaction with Charles, a direction-giving robot, in a driving simulation.
In the test, Robinson pretends to be vaguely disquieted about a simulated build-up of traffic and suggests an alternative route. Charles, the navigator, agrees to the route change and expresses mild surprise at Robinson's positive reaction.
Photo credit: University of Cambridge Rainbow Research Group