Hanson Robotics

Hanson Robotics is a privately held Hong Kong based AI and robotics company started in 2013 by its founder David Hanson.

Unlike many people who have proceeded cautiously with the “uncanny valley” philospophy which encourages robotisists to avoid making a robot look too human like, Hanson has bucked the trend and embraced the idea of making more human looking robots.

For the last handful of years their upper body only robot called Sophia has amazed and fascinated television audiences around the world as it engages in lively conversations with its interviewers and others. In fact there have apparently been about 24 versions made of Sophia up until 2021.

Although Sophia has a beautiful womans face it does not have hair or a covering for the electronics exposed in the back and has to be wheeled out onto the stage since it was built without legs.
However the built in AI is amazing which allows Sophia to interact quite human like when it is being interviewed.

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins has an excellent video on Youtube where he interviews Sophia and he is very kind and forgiving when Sophia seems to misunderstand his questions so he re phrases his question to get an answer that Sophia is better able to offer.

The webpage highlights a handful of their robots with most of them being called “custom character robots” and a few others like “Phillip Dick” being a “research robot”. Little Sophia(TM) and Professor Einstein(TM) are examples of “consumer robots”.

The 50+ year old founder David Hanson has a PHD in Aesthetic studies and no formal engineering background but surrounds himself with a team with expertise in a wide range of top scientific and engineering disciplines.

David held a postion before founding this company where he worked as an Imagineer for Disney..
Sophia has probably been on more television talk shows and media appearances than any other robot. Boston Dynamics has also garnered a great deal of attention with their dancing robots in 2021 and their dog like robot in the last few years.

Now Hanson Robotics has released other robot creations like a mini Einstein and will soon bring out a miniature Little Sophia.

Their emphasis is on making better AI and they use their robots to demonstrate this AI.

Their webpage includes a “meet the team” section where about a dozen staff are listed with job positions including a handful of tech-like jobs like:

  • – robot animator
  • – senior systems analyst
  • – lead Sophia character writer
  • – senior QA engineer
  • – robot developer
  • – mechanical engineer
  • – head production supervisor
  • – software developer
  • – executive assistant
  • – electronics engineer
  • – IT manager
  • – business development manager
  • – chief marketing officer

There may be dozens or hundreds of other staff or contract workers behind the scenes but they are not mentioned on the webpage which seems unusual for a company which has garnered possibly as much publicity with the Sophia robot as a company like Boston Dynamics has garnerered for their handful of arguably much more incredibly sophistocated full body and full function robots.

So maybe you have a skill that Hanson could use and if so you may have a terrific future ahead of you.

Remember you can always just be a supplier of some software or hardware product to any of these companies.

The sky is the limit …and above.