Japanese Scientist Builds Robots That Look Eerily Human


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Credit: Miraikan

The fact that the Japanese love robots is well-known. The nation of 127 million people currently employs over a quarter million robots workers, more than any other country in the world, and the number is expected to quadruple in the next 15 years. So far, most of the robots have been built for the industrial sector and therefore bear no resemblance to humans. But if some scientists have their way, the days of androids - robots that look and act like humans, are not too far away.

The front runner in this race is Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro who has spent over 20 years trying to build human-like machines. Over the years, the Osaka University Roboticist has released numerous prototypes. However, it is his latest exhibition 'Android: What is Human', which opened at Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan), on Tuesday June 24th, that is creating a stir, both nationally and internationally.

Credit: Miraikan

The team of robots being exhibited include two beautiful females - the adult Otonaroid (Otona means adult in Japanese) and the juvenile Kodomoroid (Kodomo means child in Japanese) as well as a tiny cuddly infant-like robot called Telenoid. All three have a specific purpose. The teleoperated Otonaroid will act as the museum's robot science communicator for the duration of the exhibition. Her duties include having one-on-one conversations with visitors, which Ishighuro believes will help people become more comfortable around androids.

Kodomoroid who is being touted as the world's first robo newscaster can skillfully recite the latest news gathered from around the world via an internet feed. The young girl can also speak several languages in a variety of tones ranging from a girly squeal to a deep male voice. As for Telenoid? built to behave like a minimalist human, he resembles a cuddly baby that visitors can pick up for a quick hug and even, have a short conversation with.

Credit: Miraikan

During the press conference held to introduce the robots, the two older ones behaved just like humans, moving their beautiful pink lips in synch with the audio, blinking their eyes and tilting their heads from side to side. While neither rose from their respective chairs, they did move their hands expressively. Kodomoroid read the news without a single mistake and even managed to pull-off some difficult tongue twisters flawlessly. Science communicator Otonroid slipped a little by not responding when asked to introduce herself. However, upon being rebooted she quickly redeemed herself by attributing her silence to 'nervousness'.

As you can imagine, building these robots is not for the faint of heart. Android researchers begin by making a complete plaster cast of a human model, right down to the teeth. They then spend hundreds of hours molding and painting the features so that the robot closely resembles the human it is being modeled after. That, is the easy part! Then starts the arduous process of installing the complex machinery and countless hours of programing so that the androids not only replicate human gestures and facial expressions, but also, think like them. It is no wonder that most scientists gravitate towards building 'easier' industrial robots.

This is not the first time the professor has impressed the world with his human-like robots. His previous creations included android actors that have starred in plays alongside humans and even a replica of himself that he often sends on international lecture tours.

Resources: mashable.com, news.yahoo.com,upi.com, ibtimes.co.uk

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  • dream_beyond
    dream_beyond4 months
    Um... definitely interesting
    • kittylover111
      lol, you mean creepy. Those things freak my out even if it's on a computer!
  • kittylover111
  • schoolfriend
    schoolfriend7 months
    They DO look like humans!
    • aininakifaaidan
      I love robotics!But,this looks a bit spooky since it looks like a human...
      • kittylover111
        You think? I would never want to look at these things every day.
      • megamonster
        megamonster12 months
        please i would never trust a robot, i'm not one to be paranoid but next thing you know there going to be building more robots, stronger ones that would be harder to fight off and wouldn't take commands, people are going to keep making robots smarter, until they overtake us, because humans would be no match for machines, I like robots but anyone who is smart knows what i'm saying.
        • pop_star_loomer
          Ummmmmm ............I am in 8th grade I know what what I am talking about that is only in movies.
        • animereina2021
          animereina2021over 1 year
          The way the androids talk make it seem a little bit unnatural...😬
          • chloeparker
            chloeparkerover 1 year
            Wow that is so scary I have a nightmare cause that thing 👍& follow me if you agree
            • cutiepie746
              cutiepie746over 1 year
              Oh my goodness! They are so advanced and fascinating! They look so human-like that if I saw them out on the street I'd probably wave and say hello!
              • fizzyizzy948
                fizzyizzy9484 months
                Seriously though! Like if I wasn't told that those to "women" were robots, I would do the same thing.
              • lightfury
                lightfuryalmost 2 years
                just creepy!😧
                • catnor1234
                  catnor1234over 2 years
                  ADORABLE but creepy!!!