Sophia the Citizen Robot Is Learning to Walk

January 8, 2018, 1:00 PM UTC

Sophia, an intelligent humanoid robot that has appeared on late night TV, been granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia, and even trolled billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, is finally getting a chance to walk.

And of course, it’s happening at CES 2018, the annual tech trade show in Las Vegas.

Hanson Robotics, the Hong Kong-based company founded by David Hanson, announced Monday at CES a partnership with Rainbow Robotics and Drones and Autonomous Systems Lab to integrate the Sophia with a DRC-HUBO body that will give her the ability to walk. The DRC-HUBO body won the the DARPA Robotics Challenge in 2015.

Rainbow Robotics is the commercial spinoff of the Kaist Hubo Lab that is bringing the DRC-HUBO into production.

“Giving Sophia a more complete and robust embodiment is a key part of our ongoing, rapidly accelerating quest to supply her and our other Hanson robots with general intelligence at the human level and ultimately beyond,” Hanson Robotics Chief Scientist Dr. Ben Goertzel said in a statement.

“Integrating Sophia with a (robotics) body that can allow her to walk completes her physical form so she can access the full range of human experiences, which will help her learn to live and walk among us,” said Hanson, who first debuted the bot at South by Southwest in March 2016.

Sophia, along with Hanson’s other robots, simulate more 60 different facial expressions, track and recognize faces, look people in the eye, and hold natural conversations. Sophia appears even more humanlike thanks to a material that mimics real human musculature and skin that allows her to seem more expressive.

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