Below I’m talking to Zeno, a Hanson Robotics robot, the most human looking robot I’ve ever had the opportunity of interacting with, at least in this lifetime.

Zeno’s skin is made from Frubber, which Hanson has a patent on – it’s soft to the touch and feels like a cross between real skin and rubber. Made from a spongy, structured elastic polymer that expertly mimics the movement of real human musculature and skin using 1/20th the power of other materials, the robot can emulate over 62 facial and neck muscular architectures, has micro-cameras inside the eyes and has both facial and speech recognition built in.

Eye contact face-tracking, and conversational capabilities utilizing the latest AI software is incredibly advanced, so much so that if Zeno had legs and it wasn’t so noisy in the room, you might be fooled into thinking you’re having a real conversation with a human, albeit a very strange and mechanical one.

David Hanson is interested in human cognition – “if humans grow away from human, you get very strange results,” says Hanson. “The same is true with robots.” I also had a chance to chat with other AI researchers working on development at Hanson, including Matthew Stevenson and Kino Coursey.

Hanson robots include the world’s first expressive biped robot, Albert-Hubo, heralded by WIRED as “genius”, and the small Zeno robot, which is also previewed in this video. Sorry, but he’s just not as much fun as the leg-less Zeno with the bandana. BTW, Zeno has accepted a date with me. My plan? A date with Zeno when he gets his legs, likely in Dallas, but we’ll see what Zeno says when the time is here.

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