A startup company just launched what it claims to be the most advanced social robot to date.

Earlier this week, the Stockholm-based startup Furhat Robotics unveiled an eerily lifelike and AI-equipped social robot, Furhat. The company claims that its latest robot innovation is capable of holding natural conversations with humans, complete with realistic facial expressions.

“Furhat is a social robot that communicates with us humans as we do with each other – by speaking, listening, showing emotions and maintaining eye contact. It can serve customers, provide companionship, train employees or teach a language,” the company said in its marketing video.

“The only limit is your own imagination. If you are an entrepreneur, developer, designer or researcher, the time to build apps for social robots is now.”

Meet the Social Robot, Furhat

According to Furhat Robotics, its social robot can display a beautiful lifelike face onto a head-shaped display with the aid of a projection system. The company’s robotics engineers reportedly programmed Furhat with a number of animations that project realistic human expressions.

The company also reported that the social robot can speak, listen, and react naturally. It also executes all these actions while maintaining eye contact with the person in front of it.

The robot also has a situational awareness due to its wide-angle, high fidelity camera and beamforming stereo microphones.

Furhat is already market-ready and can be customized according to the environment and needs of its user. Users can also change the face of the robot can into the face of any person, animal, or avatar. Users can also program the voice into over 30 different languages.

What’s even more interesting is that its owner can develop the social robot’s personality. Users can freely create emotions and a personalized voice for the robot. They can also train it to provide interaction needs.

Furhat was introduced to the public by Furhat Robotics at the WebSummit this week in Lisbon.

Are social robots the companion socially awkward people need, or will this technology only lead to social isolation?

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