The Hong Kong team behind celebrity humanoid robot Sophia is launching a new prototype, Grace, targeted at the healthcare market and designed to interact with the elderly and those isolated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dressed in a blue nurse’s uniform, Grace has Asian features, collar-length brown hair and a thermal camera in her chest to take your temperature and measure your responsiveness. She uses artificial intelligence to diagnose a patient and can speak English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
“I can visit with people and brighten their day with social stimulation … but can also do talk therapy, take bio readings and help healthcare providers,” Grace told Reuters as she stood next to her “sister”, Sophia, in creator Hanson Robotics’ Hong Kong workshop.
Grace’s resemblance to a healthcare professional and capacity for social interaction is aimed at relieving the burden of front-line hospital staff overwhelmed during the pandemic, said founder David Hanson.
“A human-like appearance facilitates trust and natural engagement because we are wired for human face-to-face interactions,” Hanson said, explaining how Grace can simulate the action of more than 48 major facial muscles, and has a comforting demeanour designed to look a little like anime characters, often a fusion of Asian and Western styles.