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Robots forced to head bang, but it's for their own good

Don't blame it on the sunshine, the moonlight or the good times. Blame it on the actuators.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr

Engineered Arts' SociBot hasn't quite solved the problem of the uncanny valley, but I have to admit, I want to play with one.

For a start, it has no limbs -- so for the robophobes out there, there's no danger it will come alive in the middle of the night and do evil robot stuff. Secondly, the face is customisable. Thanks to the projector in the robot's head, you can put any face on it you like, even your own.

That feature is seen in the video above, wherein Engineered Arts (which also invented the RoboThespian performance robot) test the movement of the SociBot Mini's neck by having them nod along to music while the middle robot's face changes. This will help them make improvements to the robot's design.

The robots have a host of other features as well, including the ability to track and respond to up to 12 different people (including both gestures and emotions) at once, as well as act as a telepresence device.

If you want one of your own to muck about with, though, you'll have to dig deep: One of these SociBot Mini units goes for £9,500 (around $12,430), while the SociBot comes in at £14,500 (around $18,970).