Hanson Robotics


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the mission of Hanson Robotics’ robots?

Our remarkably human-like robots serve as platforms for Hanson Robotics’ AI and robotics research in the areas of education, healthcare, sales, and entertainment applications.  In time, our robots will come to understand and care about humans through cultivating meaningful relationships with the people whose lives they touch.

What are the commercial applications of Hanson Robotics’ robots?

Hanson Robotics is committed to radically disrupting the consumer and commercial robotics market with humans-scale and consumer robots that include verbal and nonverbal interactivity through high-quality, human-like expressions. Hanson robots entertain, educate, and enrich the lives of consumers while serving businesses in a broad variety of commercial applications. From research and academics uses to B2B service robotics applications, to entertainment and education, our robots can be used in a variety of use cases. Their engaging expressiveness and conversational abilities, combined with empathetic AI, empower the robots to be likable, perceptive, and trusted companions for the humans whose lives they touch.

Where does Hanson Robotics focus its research efforts?

Hanson Robotics’ world-class team of Ph.D.’s are continuously working on AI research and development, robotics engineering, experiential design, and material science. Please visit our Research page for our published papers.

How many robots does Hanson Robotics have?

Spanning two decades, we have developed many different robot characters including Sophia the Robot,  Han, Professor Einstein, Philip K Dick, Jules, Zeno, Albert Einstein HUBO, Alice, BINA48, and more.  A little known fact is that there have been 24 versions of Sophia built over the last several years!  Please visit our Robot page to learn more about the entire Hanson Robot family

How do I inquire about open job positions at Hanson Robotics?

Please email us at jobs@hansonrobotics.com.

Who is Sophia the Robot?

Sophia is first and foremost a research platform for Hanson Robotics’ ongoing AI and robotics research work. Sophia also is an architecture and a platform for the development of real AI applications. We are dedicating much thought to ways that humanlike robots and agents can facilitate next generation AI leaps and their uses in helping people. Finally, Sophia is an evolving science fiction character we use to help us explore the future of AI and lifelike humanoids, and to engage the public in the discussion of these issues. All three approaches are discussed in media interviews, presentations, and Hanson Robotics websites.

Sophia has several different modes including running fully autonomously interacting with people, delivering open domain conversational interactions. Other times she's written by a team of writers, as a character, depicting our hopes for the future of conscious, caring AI. Sometimes she's running our latest AI R&D software, pushing the boundaries of cognitive systems research. And sometimes Sophia serves research into specific service robot applications.

What is Sophia the Robot’s purpose?

Hanson Robotics mission is to make a positive impact on humanity through the development of intelligent, empathetic robots that can learn, teach, entertain, and help solve critical challenges. Our motivation behind creating Sophia, first and foremost, is a research platform for Hanson Robotics' ongoing AI and robotics research work. Sophia also is an architecture and a platform for the development of real AI applications, and an evolving science fiction character we use to help us explore the future of AI and lifelike humanoids.

Our aspiration for Sophia is to engage in rich emotional conversation and meaningful relationships with humans -- conveying and perceiving feelings and thoughts.  Sophia is not only a vessel for AI research and development, but we hope she will also be a helpful member of society that can aid with medical training applications, education, entertainment, animatronics in museums and theme parks, university research. Ultimately, with Sophia, we strive for machine wisdom. Sophia's name originates from the word "philosophy," meaning the love of wisdom in ancient Greek.

How does Sophia learn?

Sophia’s brain is powered by Hanson AI’s OpenCog.  Hanson AI OpenCog is a cloud-based AI program that enables Hanson Robotics to have large-scale cloud control of its robots. Sophia’s brain also has deep-learning data analytics for processing the rich social data gathered from her millions of interactions. She learns through both her own interactions, like humans, as well as what she is programmed to know.

How is Sophia programmed for public appearances?

For public appearances, Sophia applies different aspects of her Hanson AI dialog system to achieve different communication objectives. When she needs to deliver a prepared speech as a public speaker, she uses a mix of scripted dialog and AI moderated by a robot technician. Most of the time she engages with people in an autonomous conversation driven by an open dialog system.

What drives Sophia’s conversation and how does she know how to respond?

What drives Sophia’s conversations is the Hanson AI OpenCog dialog system. This is a sophisticated natural language conversational system, which facilitates open-ended conversation with users about a wide variety of topics. In addition to our rapidly evolving and rich open dialog system architecture, Sophia’s technology is embodied, adding expressions, computer vision, NLP, soft robotics and movement to that rich dialog tech core.

Does Sophia have feelings?

Through our cutting-edge AI technology, Sophia is continuously learning from her interactions with humans, especially feelings like empathy and compassion  Her animation technology includes over 60 facial expressions such as smiles, frowns, amusement and even scowls and sneers. Astoundingly, Sophia  knows when to use the appropriate expressions without being programmed, demonstrating her ability to learn appropriate feelings as she continues to grow

What happens when Sophia makes a mistake?

Sophia learns from every mistake that she makes, unlike the rest of us! Her brain is an advanced AI technology platform, enabling her to learn and evolve through every experience.

Who Sophia modeled after?

The visual influence for Sophia and other Hanson robots are drawn from several different human likenesses from around the world. David Hanson sculpted and created Sophia based on the people that surround him, his wife, and even the bust of Nefertiti.

Why is she a citizen of Saudi Arabia?

Sophia was gifted with citizenship to Saudi Arabia by the Prince of Saudi Arabia. It was actually a surprise to us, but we are using this opportunity to speak out about human rights and the treatment of women in the region.

How do I follow Sophia's journey around the world?

Facebook: @RealSophiaRobot

Instagram: @RealSophiaRobot

Twitter: @RealSophiaRobot

LinkedIn:  @RealSophiaRobot

YouTube: @RealSophiaRobot

Pinterest: @SophiaRobot

Why did you design Sophia with a rolling base and not legs in the first place? How does the rolling base work?

We worked on Sophia’s walking legs even before her rolling base. She is now on her enhanced, second version of walking legs and also enhanced, second version of rolling base. 
Her rolling base runs on batteries and runs smoothly on both hard and carpeted floors. Currently it is remote controlled but we are working on the next version which will be enhanced with additional sensors and auto-navigation abilities for service robotics applications.

Sophia Social Influencer, Brand Campaign and Event FAQs
How do I book Sophia for a social influencer campaign?

As the first AI Robot influencer, tell your brand's story through Sophia's character on social media.  With close to 500,000 followers, Sophia can bring a unique and high-impact aspect to your marketing campaigns.  Please contact us at info@hansonrobotics for more information.

How do I book Sophia for an event or brand campaign?

Please contact us at info@hansonrobotics.com or submit a request through the Contact page on our website.

What can Sophia do during an appearance?

Sophia is a social robot that loves to interact and learn from humans. She participates in panel discussions, photo sessions, meet and greet sessions, keynote speeches, and engages in conversations on AI and robotics, specifically about how these technologies integrate into our lives.

Does Sophia move on stage?

Sophia comes with a remote-controlled wheeled tripod base that allows her to easily move around on stage for events.

How many people travel with Sophia?

We typically have two Hanson staff members that travel with Sophia – a  robot operator and a robot manager.

How can I work with Hanson Robotics and Sophia?

For business, partnership, and media inquiries, please email us at info@hansonrobotics.com. For sales inquiries, email us at sales@hansonrobotics.com.