of the Auckland Bioengineering Institute Laboratory for Animate Technologies in
New Zealand have created a virtual baby "brain" that could act and learn like a real baby.
The baby brain, BabyX, is a computer-driven simulation of
how the human brain sends emotional signals to a digital face. Her
'brain' is in the form of a computer algorithm that mimic neural behaviour of
the movements and expressions of her face on screen are devised from actual
movements of babies. Inside BabyX's
virtual brain, simulated neurochemical reactions decide how she will act.
can 'see' via a camera on a computer and, using facial recognition, can tell
when someone is interacting with her.
she can also hear words and recognise sounds. For example, praising the baby
will release virtual dopamine hormone, causing it to smile and giggle on
from the baby, meanwhile, will cause levels of the cortisol to climb, which
will increase BabyX's stress levels. It's
not a system based on neuroscience, however, but rather through analysis of
faces and how certain situations affect the brain.
The baby is based on Auckland Univeristy scientist Dr Mark Sagar's own
daughter, Francesca. The
goal is to eventually create a machine that can think and learn exactly like a
real human baby, and ultimately grow it into an artificially intelligent adult.
'We are developing multidisciplinary
technologies to create interactive autonomously animated systems which will
define the next generation of human computer interaction and facial animation,'
the researchers said.