David Hanson (robotics designer)

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David Hanson at the Digital World 2017 conference held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

David Hanson Jr. is an American roboticist and founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hanson Robotics, a Hong Kong-based robotics company founded in 2013.[1]

The designer and researcher creates humanlike robots who have realistic facial expressions and conversational abilities.[2]

He is mainly known for Hanson Robotics, the company that created Sophia and other robots designed to mimic human behavior. Sophia has received widespread media attention, and was the first robot to be granted citizenship.

Early life and education[edit]

Dr. Hanson was born in on December 20, 1969 in Dallas, Texas, United States. He studied at Highland Park High School for his senior year to focus on math and science. As a teenager, Hanson’s hobbies included drawing and reading science fiction works by writers like Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick—the latter of whom he would later replicate in android form.[3]

Hanson has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design in film/animation/video, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Dallas in interactive arts and engineering.[4][5] In 1995 as part of an independent-study project on out-of-body experiences, he built a humanoid head in his own likeness, operated by a remote operator.[6]

Dr. Hanson’s dissertation was entitled Development of an Advanced Respirator Fit-Test Headform.

Career[edit]

"Albert Hubo" a robot created by Hanson and the KAIST Hubo group

Dr. David Hanson’s career has focused on creating humanlike robots.[7] Hanson's most well-known creation is Sophia, the world's first ever robot citizen.

In 2004 at a Denver American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference, David Hanson presented K-Bot, a robotic head created with polymer skin, finely sculpted features, and big blue eyes. Named after his lab assistant Kristen Nelson, the robot head had 24 servomotors for realistic movement and cameras in its eyes. At the time he was 33 years old and a graduate student at the University of Texas Dallas.[8]

After he graduated from university, Hanson worked as an artist, and went on to work for Disney where he was a sculptor and material researcher in the Disney Imagineering Lab.[8] He has worked as a designer, sculptor, and robotics developer for Universal Studios and MTV. In 2004, Hanson built the humanoid robot Hertz, a female presenting animated robot head that took about nine months to build.[9]

David Hanson is the founder and CEO of Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, which was founded in 2013.[10]

Hanson has been published in materials science, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and robotics journals.[11]

Hanson argues precise human looks are a must if people are going to effectively communicate with robots. Hanson believes social humanoid robots have the potential to serve humanity in a variety of functions and helping roles, like tutor, companion, or security guard.[9] He argues the realism of his work has the potential to pose "an identity challenge to the human being," and that realistic robots may polarize the market between those who love realistic robots and those who find them disturbing.[12] Many of Hanson's creations currently serve at research or non-profit institutions around the world, including at the University of Cambridge, University of Geneva, University of Pisa and in laboratories for cognitive science and AI research.[13]

Hanson's creation Zeno, a two-foot tall robot designed in the style of a cartoon boy, provides treatment sessions to children with autism in Texas as a result of a collaboration between the University of Texas at Arlington, Dallas Autism Treatment Center, Texas Instruments and National Instruments, and Hanson.[14]

Other robots include Albert Einstein HUBO, a robotic head designed to look like Albert Einstein's and put it on top of the "HUBO" bipedal robotic frame,[15] and Professor Einstein, a 14.5 inch personal robot that engages in conversation and acts as a companion/tutor.[16]

Hanson collaborated with musician David Byrne on Song for Julio, which appeared at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid in 2008 as part of the Máquinas&Almas (Souls&Machines) exhibit, and his creations have appeared in other museums around the world.[17]

Educational institutions[edit]

From 2011 to 2013 Dr. Hanson was an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science and Engineering Teaching at the University of Texas at Arlington. He also taught in 2010 at the University of North Texas as an adjunct professor in fine arts, kinetic/interactive sculpture, and at the University of Texas at Dallas as an instructor of independent study in interactive sculpture.

Public and media appearances[edit]

Hanson has keynote speeches at leading international technology conferences such as the Consumer Electronics Show[18] and IBC.[19]

Additional media appearances:

Publications[edit]

Books[edit]

Papers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Saudi Arabia Just Granted Citizenship to a Robot". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  2. ^ "David Hanson brings robots to life - THNK". THNK. 2011-03-24. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  3. ^ "The Man Who Mistook His Girlfriend for a Robot". Popular Science. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  4. ^ "'Meet the Future' at a Feb. 28 Ubben Lecture Featuring David Hanson and His Robot Creation, Sophia - DePauw University". DePauw University. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  5. ^ "Alumnus Creates Robotics Company - Corporate Relations - The University of Texas at Dallas". www.utdallas.edu. Retrieved 24 January 2018.
  6. ^ "The Man Who Mistook His Girlfriend for a Robot". Popular Science. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  7. ^ "'Meet the Future' at a Feb. 28 Ubben Lecture Featuring David Hanson and His Robot Creation, Sophia - DePauw University". DePauw University. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  8. ^ a b "The Man Who Mistook His Girlfriend for a Robot". Popular Science. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  9. ^ a b "Can robots look all too human?". msnbc.com. 2004-02-02. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  10. ^ Walcutt, Leif. "The Contrived Likeness Of Humanoid Robots". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  11. ^ "'Meet the Future' at a Feb. 28 Ubben Lecture Featuring David Hanson and His Robot Creation, Sophia - DePauw University". DePauw University. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  12. ^ "Scientists try to make robots more human - USATODAY.com". usatoday30.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  13. ^ "David Hanson creates robots with human faces | EarthSky.org". earthsky.org. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  14. ^ "How Robots are Helping Children with Autism". NDTV Food. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  15. ^ "Einstein Robot 'Albert Hubo' Physicist Back To Life (VIDEO)". HuffPost Canada. 2010-03-18. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  16. ^ ENGINEERING.com. "Hanson Robotics Develops Professor Einstein, Your Personal Genius > ENGINEERING.com". www.engineering.com. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  17. ^ "El robot de David Byrne". El Pais (in Spanish). 30 June 2008. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  18. ^ "Robots steal the show at CES 2017". 2017-01-07. Retrieved 2017-12-20.
  19. ^ Caranicas, Peter (2017-09-13). "New Technology at IBC Leads the Way to the Future of Content". Variety. Retrieved 2017-12-20.

External links[edit]