Hanson Robotics
Dr. David Hanson founded Hanson Robotics in late 2003 to bring robots to
life, literally. Since then the Hanson Robotics team of visionaries
introduced a renowned series of the world’s most lifelike intelligent
robots, enlivened by Hanson’s breakthrough technologies including
Frubber(tm) skin material, and Character Engine cognition software.
Frubber(tm), mechanical engineering, and artistry bring the appearance of
life,  whereas Character Engine enables robots to think, to feel, to
perceive people and understand speech, hold natural conversations, and
evolve into ever smarter beings.

Academic and public recognition in the press
Hanson’s work has been recognized by national and international resources, such as:

  • WIRED magazine, who featured their work in July of 2004 and June of 2005, labeling it “genius” and awarding the Albert-Hubo robot with a cover in January 2006; in fact, the Albert-Hubo was ranked as the 17th greatest robot in history, using Hanson Robotics’ Einstein portrait atop the KAIST walking Hubo robot.
  • Science magazine, describing Hanson as “head of his class” in sociable robotics, March 28, 2003.
  • The BBC, hailing Hanson robots “among the world’s most advanced”.

Dr. Hanson and Hanson Robotics:

  • Has published peer-reviewed papers in the fields of materials science, AI, cognitive science and robotics;
  • Holds one patent currently, with two more pending;
  • Has been featured alongside his robots and art installations in the following media, along with other venues both online and in print:
    • The New York Times
    • Popular Science
    • IEEE Spectrum
    • CNN
    • The Discovery Channel

If you are a member of the press and would like to schedule an interview with Hanson Robotics’ team or Dr. Hanson, please contact us.


The artistry behind the vision
Hanson’s brings such realism in their robots by fusing world class engineering and world class artistry. Each robot emerges as a four-dimensional sculpture. The presense of character arises from the interaction of the mechanics under the skin, the Frubber on the surface of the robot’s face, and the intelligent software, to affect any of 2 to the power of 361 possible expressions—just the right expression at just the right time. Handled well, this combination truly comes to life, looks you warmly in the eye and inspires the sense of a soul in the machine.

  • This is the new era of art—art that awakens, befriends you, and that you must nuture as it grows up to live his or her own life. Artistry is as important as science in this quest.
  • Dr. Hanson holds a BFA in film from the Rhode Island School of Design, and worked as a professional sculptor for 2 years, with pieces in Atlantis Resort, Universal Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering prior to transitioning into Disney’s Technical Development area, where he led several robotic and materials projects. Hanson received a Ph.D. in Aesthetic Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas, with a focus Interactive Arts and Engineering, merging cognitive science research, engineering, and artistry in the humanlike conversation robots that formed the basis for founding Hanson Robotics. Dr. Hanson’s previous art sculptures have garnered positive reviews in the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and CNN.


    Awards and honors
    Hanson Robotics and Dr. Hanson have received awards in both the art and engineering fields, including:

    • National Science Foundation Panelist, 2009.
    • Winner of 2009 Italian Centro Nationale Riserche (CNR) Scholarship, 2008-2009.
    • Winner of TechTitan’s Innovator of the Year award, 2007.
    • Winner of TX State Emerging Technology Award, 2007.
    • Cooper-Hewitt Smithsonian Best Design Triennial, December 2006
    • UTA ARRI Innovation Award, February 2006
    • 2005 AAAI award, First Place for Open Interaction (PKD Android)
    • NIST ATP Award, “Highly meritorious” designation, 2004 (with funding pending the 2005 Congressional spending bill)
    • World Technology Award, nominee and semifinalist: Best IT Hardware, 2004
    • Themed Entertainment Association, Best Themed Display Award, First Place for the “World of Disney Themed Store” at Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL, 1996
    • Rhode Island School of Design Merit Award, 1992-1996
    • Co-recipient of the NASA Inventions and Contributions Space Act Monetary Award, Second Place, for best invention of the year (1994); prize awarded to Dr. Heinrich Gerritsen, Marilou Jepson and David Hanson for a novel space shuttle lighting system. Using a Fourier transform light-filter, this device output a nearly perfect diffusion of light, useful for science experiments and reducing astronaut eye fatigue.
    • Nomination for a WTN World Technology Award
    • Chair, “Miracles and Monstrosities,” symposium on genetically engineered art at Rhode Island School of Design-Brown University art+tech festival (PONG), 1993
    • Odyssey of the Mind educational competition, First Place: Team-built tiny robotic vehicle to navigate an obstacle course, automatically dock to a trailer, gather objects, and deliver to a designated area, 1992


    Public speaking engagements
    Dr. Hanson has spoken at numerous corporate and academic venues, including:

    • DARPA
    • SPIE Smart Materials and Structures Conference, Electroactive Polymer Actuators and Devices (EAPAD) Symposium, San Diego, CA, March 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004
    • Sandia National Laboratories, Cognitive Systems Workshop, Santa Fe, New Mexico, July 2003: “Facial Veracity in Robotics as a Tool for Understanding Human Social Cognition”
    • MIT
    • Rhode Island School of Design
    • Dallas Robotics Club
    • Dartmouth University
    • Brown University
    • Google
    • AAAS
    • UCSD
    • IEEE
    • Telecom Tech
    • FedEx Institute of Technology
    • American Association for Artificial Intelligence conference, in Edmonton, Canada; “Identity Emulation: Integrated Aesthetic Robotics,” August 2002
    • University of Texas at Dallas

    Dr. Hanson has also demonstrated his lifelike humanoid robots at the following venues:

    • Exhibitor of the “Albert Hubo” at the APEC summit in Busan, Korea, November 2005; also at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, February 2006
    • Exhibitor and speaker, 2005 AAAI National Conference on Artificial Intelligence
    • Exhibitor at WIRED magazine’s NextFest in Chicago, “PKD-A, Philip K. Dick Android,” June 2005
    • Exhibitor NEXTfest, WIRED magazine technology festival in San Francisco, May 2004
    • Exhibitor at the TED, “Technology Entertainment Design” in Monterrey, CA, February 2004
    • Exhibitor (along with the JPL Advanced Actuators Lab) at the JPL Open House, 2002, 2003, and 2005
    • Participant and Speaker at the International Workshop on Perceptive Social Agents and Robots in San Diego, January 9-10, 2003
    • Co-organizer and Speaker at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting: symposium entitled, “Biologically Inspired Intelligent Robotics,” co-organized with Yoseph Bar-Cohen of JPL/CalTech and Cynthia Breazeal of the MIT AI Lab, Denver, CO, 2003

    To schedule a speaking engagement or demonstration with Dr. Hanson for your own company or academic group, please contact us.


    Other affiliations

    • Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) since 2000
    • Member, American Association for Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) since 2001
    • Member, SPIE since 2001
    • Member, Visual Sciences Society (VSS) since 2003
    • Vice President, Rhode Island School of Design Student Government, 1995-1996

  • %d bloggers like this: