Hanson Robotics Selects Acapela to Speak for Philip K. Dick Robot

Hanson Robotics' sculpture for the Philip K. Dick Robot

Hanson Robotics Inc has chosen Acapela text-to-speech to voice enable its robots.

Hanson's robots simulate conversation using natural language including ASR, face recognizing computer vision and Acapela text-to-speech.

In an unparalleled technical collaboration, a team of artists, writers, engineers, literary scholars, and freethinkers are creating a lifelike, android portrait of one of America's well-known science-fiction writers Philip K. Dick. The robot will be featured at WIRED magazine's NextFest, June 25-27, 2005.

The late Philip K. Dick created the fiction behind "Blade Runner," "Minority Report" and "Total Recall." In addition, Dick wrote "A Scanner Darkly," which will come out as a feature film this fall. Hanson Robotics Inc (HRI), the FedEx Institute of Technology's Institute for Intelligent Systems (IIS) and the Automation and Robotics Research Institute (ARRI) at UTA are working with Paul Williams, a close friend and former literary executor of Dick, to create a robotic portrait that will be a memorial to the author.

The robot will portray Philip K. Dick through an artificial-intelligence-driven personality. The hardware will manipulate Hanson's proprietary skin material to affect expressions with very low power. Cameras in the eyes will allow the robot to perceive people's identity and behavior through machine vision and biometric-identification software. The robot will track faces, perceive facial expressions, and recognize people from the crowd (family, friends, celebrities, etc).

The visual data will be fused with best speech technologies and will run in sync with Hanson Robotics' expressive robot face to emulate a human-conversational system.

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