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Is Zeno the future of home entertainment?Zeno, a humanoid robot with a $300 price tag, is set to be released in 2009. CNET News.com's Michael Kanellos takes a look at a prototype and asks why this one may be different than others that have come before it.
[ music ] ^M00:00:04 >> This is Zeno [assumed spelling], either the future of home entertainment, or something freakish you'd never want in your house. Zeno the humanoid robot, coming from Hansen Robotics in 2009. Zeno essentially is supposed to be a little kid. You teach him about life on earth and he interacts with you. The idea though is to get something that doesn't robotically interact. It'll begin to give you humanlike responses, and will respond to your emotions, your moods, things you say, things like that. It was created by David Hansen, who got his PhD at the University of Texas, Dallas, in robotics. He's also working with Massive Software, an artificial intelligence software company that did a lot of the special effects in Lord of the Rings. >> The artistry makes the AI seem smarter than it is. So the same way that good writing makes a - >> Right. >> - a novel, a novel's dead wood - >> Yeah, exactly. >> - out loud, dead wood with some ink on the - >> A lot of people wrote yeah, the Napoleonic War, the - >> Yeah. >> But War and Peace clocked it out of the park. >> But it seems alive. >> Yeah. >> And so with good interaction design, good writing, really good animation, and cutting edge artificial intelligence, we're able to simulate an intelligent life form. >> The back story in a sense of character and personality is one of the reasons that Zeno is going to be different than robots from Japan like Asimo and Ivo [assumed spelling], according to Hansen. Another thing that makes Zeno different is going to be the price. It's only going to cost three hundred dollars. Now again, people have tried to make personality entertainment robots for a couple of years, and they haven't done that well. But the price is low enough, and the performance is pretty good, so you might see a breakthrough here. I'm Michael Kinelis [assumed spelling] for news.com.