THIS KID DOESN’T know it, but he’s kind of a big deal. Sitting in his mother’s lap, he looks at a mohawked robotic head, which periodically turns left to look at a computer screen with its big blue eyes. And the infant takes the cue, glancing at the screen, where a human avatar signs a nursery rhyme.
This boy is doing something remarkable on two levels. For one, he’s practicing a pivotal skill for his development—language—with a clever new platform that blends robotics, fancy algorithms, and brain science. And he’s doing what few humans have done before: communicating with a robot using facial cues alone.