Jabba the Hutt inspires human-style eyes for robots

Jabba the Hutt inspires human style eyes for robots.jpgsignatureacbb4625b1f2ad237c4e9c66c5c5e9bb

In humanoid robots, artificial eyes are often referred to as doll eyes because they are made of glass or acrylic. This is a problem because their pupils do not respond to how human eyes live. Pupils are important because they emit visual cues that we subconsciously interpret as emotions and understanding.

For many scientists working in robots, reproducing human features is an important part of our work. To that end, my research is the first to create a robotic eye that responds to both light and sensation using artificial muscle. This will help them to interact with humans, who tend to be more comfortable with robotic features that mirror themselves. More lifelike robots allow humans to interact with more natural technology.

My work was inspired by meeting John Coppinger, one of Jabba the Hutt's engineers, from the 1983 film Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Coppinger designed Jabba’s dilated eyes, and we talked about the difficulties in doing something similar to responding to a human eye due to the complexity of the mechanisms.

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