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See the Future of Robotics at FedEx Institute
For release: June 20, 2005
For press information, contact

June 20, 2005 – Come see the future of robotics at the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology June 30 – July 8. Researchers from the Institute have been working in conjunction with Hanson Robotics and the Automation and Robotics Research Institute (ARRI) of the University of Texas at Arlington to create a robotic likeness of Philip K Dick, the late sci-fi author, which will debut at WIRED magazine’s NextFest in Chicago June 23 – 26. Dick created the fiction behind the popular movies Blade Runner, Minority Report, Paycheck and Total Recall.

After the debut in Chicago, the Philip K. Dick robot will be on display in the lobby of the FedEx Institute June 30 – July 8. The Institute will be open to the public Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. There will be an open house Wednesday, July 6, 4 – 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The Philip K. Dick robot uses the world’s best expressive robot hardware, natural language artificial intelligence and machine vision. Robots such as this can be used in a wide range of applications such as advertising, entertainment and education.

The robot portrays Dick in both form and intellect through an artificial-intelligence-driven personality. The hardware manipulates Hanson Robotics’ proprietary lifelike skin material to create extremely realistic expressions with very low power. Cameras in the eyes allow the robot to track faces and recognize people.

The visual data is fused with speech recognition, advanced natural language processing and speech synthesis software. All of this runs in sync with the highly expressive robot face to emulate a full human-conversational system.

Researchers at the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology developed the software to make the robot listen, understand and respond to someone talking to it or asking it a question. They are world renowned for their work developing computer agents that respond to human conversation and commands such as AutoTutor and IDA.

Hanson Robotics applied their artistic, mechanical and polymer engineering innovations to enable the robots to show the full range of human expressions such as joy, sorrow and surprise.

ARRI provided valuable expertise on robotic systems engineering.

For more information on the project visit http://www.pkdandroid.com or http://fedex.memphis.edu.

About WIRED NextFest

“WIRED NextFest brings the pages of our magazine to life. It showcases technologies from around the world that will transform the way we live, work, and play in the future. Last year’s festival wildly exceeded our expectations and Chicago promises to be even better,” said Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief, WIRED Magazine. “In our ongoing mission to be first with ‘what’s next,’ the exhibitors we feature represent the cutting-edge of innovation. Without their vision, it would not be possible for WIRED NextFest to offer such a dynamic sampling of the future.”

Created and produced by WIRED Magazine, and presented by GE, WIRED NextFest brings together innovations from inventors and research and development labs from around the world for both children and adults alike. The three-day celebration will showcase the best in emerging technology, including flying cars, commercial space planes, fuel-cell cars, unmanned aerial vehicles, robots, holograms, hypersonic sound beams, and invisibility coats.

WIRED NextFest 2005 is slated to begin with “Education Day” — free for students and non-profits on Friday, June 24. Staged at Chicago’s Navy Pier, WIRED NextFest will be open for General Admission on Saturday, June 25, & Sunday, June 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For additional information about WIRED NextFest or to buy tickets, please visit www.nextfest.net.

Pavilion sponsors for WIRED NextFest include GM (Future of Transportation), Motorola (Future of Communication), Pfizer (Future of Health), and Northrup Grumman (Future of Security). Additional sponsors include, Hilton Garden Inn (Hospitality), The Science Channel (Broadcast), Xerox (Imaging) and Yahoo!

Press can register for WIRED NextFest by contacting Devon Corvasce at Zeno Group, ph. 415-369-8110 or devon.corvasce@zenogroup.com.

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Last updated: 03/18/2008 15:49:37
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