I got to spend some time at Hanson Robotics a while
back, talking to
David Hanson and his staff and shooting photos for Robot Magazine (see
the Jul/Aug issue for more). My hope is that the photos will
give you an idea what a typical day working at Hanson Robotics is
like. The day I was there, everyone was preparing androids and other
robots for an upcoming TED conference. In the photo above Bill Hicks is
integrating an eye assembly into the head of Hanson's newest android,
known as Bina. Several other projects were underway at the same time,
including preparation of a Zeno prototype and fabrication of a new mini
Einstein toy robot. Read on for a lots more
photos of crazy, creepy, android stuff.
Here are a few of the more interesting photos from my day at Hanson
Robotics. To see the full set of photos visit my Hanson
Robotics Gallery on flickr. Also, don't forget to pick up the Jul/Aug issue of Robot Magazine at
your local newstand if you haven't already got it!
Above, David Hanson shows off the Frubber skin for Bina's face. In
the second photo you can see the inside of Bina's face, revealing some
of the control wires used to actuate facial features. The third photo shows
the android skull created using Hanson's 3D printer.
Above is a shot of a partially complete skull for the Bina android.
The white material is the skull. The dark material is a structural
substance added by the 3D printer during the printing process; it is
washed away after the skull is complete.
For comparison, David points out some of the features of one his
early model android skulls. Bina's skull has numerous design
Here, Kevin Carpenter, Director of Hardware Development at Hanson
Robotics, works on the android's neck assembly. This is a 5 DoF neck
that relies on high-torque RC type servos in a custom designed, metal
Above are a few photos of a full scale mockup for a planned
interactive Albert Einstein android toy. On the left is a raw foam form.
In the center you can see Loren Somen, the Director of Arts at Hanson
Robotics, working on a mold that will be used to make heads for the
small Albert Einstein robot. On the right is a painted mockup of
Bina's eyes are test fitted in place.
After a test fitting, Bill Hicks removes the eye assembly to make
small adjustments and then refits it in the android's head.
You didn't think I'd forget Zeno, did you? David showed me this
collection of Zeno prototypes.
Richard Margolin, Jr. Robot Technician at Hanson Robotics, assembled
one of the Zeno robot prototypes from parts to a power up test in about
an hour while I watched. It's impossible to tell from these photos but
there's a tiny CCD camera behind Zeno's right eye.
Everywhere you look at Hanson Robotics, you'll see strange sights
such as Furbies nestled inside android skull fragments, spooky 3D art,
or what sometimes look like skeletal remains of alien life forms.
It's easy to get ahead at Hanson Robotics! Sorry, I couldn't
Render the dog is a real biological dog, not an android. Render
seems to enjoy hanging out with the eclectic mix of engineers, artists,
and craftsmen who work at Hanson Robotics.