CUTE OR CREEPY?
Javier Movellan, professor of cognitive
science | Machine Perception Lab
Hanson Robotics | Kokoro Co.
No, researchers did not set out to create
the world’s most adorable baby-headed
robot. That was just a bonus. Diego-San
is rather a multidisciplinary inquiry into
robotics, computer science, developmental
psychology and machine learning. This
boy-bot was created to mimic the actions
of a one-year-old child in order to study
how young children learn to control their
bodies and interact with people. On the
technical side, the robot lends a greater
computational understanding of how
humans develop sensory motor intelligence.
Smiling! Diego-San’s most popular finding
has been revelations into the nature of babies’ smiles—what seems random and innocent actually serves a clear purpose. In fact,
babies smile to make their mothers smile
in return, yet they do this while smiling as
little as possible. “If you’ve ever interacted
with babies, you suspect that they’re up to
something when they’re smiling. They’re not
just smiling randomly,” says Movellan.
Diego-San’s anamorphic noggin places him on
the edge of the “uncanny valley,” the territory
assigned to objects so lifelike they actually
become unsettling. The bot is nevertheless the
next step in the development of “emotionally
AND THAT ADORABLE HEAD OF HIS
CON TAINS ABOU T 27 MOVING PAR TS.
4’ 3”66L B S .
DIEGO-SAN IS NO SMALL TODDLER, MEASURING ABOU T
4 FEE T 3 INCHES TALL AND WEIGHING 66 POUNDS.
Though designed to mimic
expressions of a one-year-old, Diego-San’s head is
even larger than yours.
Miniaturizing the parts to
scale proved to be too costly.
44DIEGO-SAN’S BODY HAS A TO TAL OF 44 PNEUMATIC JOINTS.