#428331 Flobi, the cartoonish robot

Engineers at Bielefeld University in Germany have developed “Flobi”, a blusing, cartoonish, robotic head, about the size of a human’s, designed to express emotions and be more cute than creepy, in an attempt to overcome the so-called “Uncanny Valley”, when robots because of design limitations, often are too “realistic” and can resemble scary zombies.

Flobi is notable in that it has a magnetic mouth actuator system as well as a modular construction that allows its plastic face and hair features to be swapped for male or female. It was designed to be effective in communication as well as sensing, and has 18 actuators, and is equipped with microphones, gyroscopes, and high-res cameras.

The obvious design features are that the hardware is almost completely concealed, there are no holes in the face, and it has an exterior that was designed to elicit a sympathetic emotional response.

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