By Eric Baldrighi
My research interests include biomimetics, mechatronics, artificial intelligence, and robotic design. Currently I am working on a robotic head that is both aesthetically and functionally realistic. The reason is simple; medical trainees cannot receive the full benefit of training with lifeless mannequins. For instance, an advanced mannequin such as Simman 3G has capabilities like pupil dilation, drug delivery, artificial pulse and an evolving physical state, but is limited by a static, artificial-looking face, no vision, and immobile limbs. The goal of my research is to design and fabricate a life-like robotic head to offer medical trainees patient interaction.
In order to achieve that goal, the face must create essential facial expressions such as pain or happiness in order to respond to a trainee’s actions. Also, the artificial skin must look and feel real. The pictures below are of the skull and skin assembly (left) and a version of the skin (right).