It is anticipated that the use of assistive robots will be one of the most important service applications of robotic systems of the future. In this paper, the development of a unique noncontact socially assistive robot consisting of a humanlike demeanor is presented for utilization in hospital wards and nursing∕veteran homes to study its role and impact on the well-being of patients, addressing patient’s needs and its overall effect on the quality of patient care. The robot will be an embodied entity that will participate in hands-off noncontact social interaction with a patient during the convalescence, rehabilitation, or end-of-life care stage. The robot has been designed as a platform to incorporate the three design parameters of embodiment, emotion, and nonverbal communication to encourage natural human-robot interactions. Herein, we present the overall mechanical design of the socially assistive robot focusing mainly on the development of the actuation system of the face, head, and upper body. In particular, we propose the development of a unique muscle actuation mechanism for the robotic face to allow for the display of rich facial expressions during social assistive interaction scenarios. The novelty of the actuation system is in its use of the dependency of facial muscle activity to minimize the number of individual actuators required to control the robotic face.