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Uncanny Humanoid Robot ‘Sophia’ To Enter Mass Production in 2021

Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics is to begin mass producing four models of humanoid robot by the end of the year, including the high-profile social humanoid robot, Sophia. It was first presented at South by Southwest in Texas in 2016 and has become a prominent example of realistic humanoid robots which embody AI. In 2018, the robot was upgraded with functional legs. Powered by in-house research & development and external technical support, Sophia is capable of holding a simple conversation, imitating human gestures, and making 60 facial expressions. Production is set to begin in the first half of 2021, as researchers expect the Covid-19 pandemic will open up new opportunities for the robotics industry. As David Hanson, founder and CEO of Hanson Robotics, said, the world of Covid-19 is going to need more and more automation to keep people safe. Professor Johan Hoorn, an expert in social robots at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, thought that the pandemic may encourage humans to form relationships with social robots sooner than expected. He said, “I can infer the pandemic will actually help us get robots earlier in the market because people start to realise that there is no other way.”