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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  • schoolfriend
    schoolfriendFriday, February 19, 2021 at 1:09 pm
    They DO look like humans!
    • aininakifaaidan
      aininakifaaidanFriday, January 1, 2021 at 1:51 am
      I love robotics!But,this looks a bit spooky since it looks like a human...
      • megamonster
        megamonsterTuesday, September 29, 2020 at 7:32 am
        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
          pop_star_loomerThursday, December 31, 2020 at 6:22 pm
          Ummmmmm ............I am in 8th grade I know what what I am talking about that is only in movies.
        • animereina2020
          animereina2020Saturday, May 23, 2020 at 7:15 pm
          The way the androids talk make it seem a little bit unnatural...😬
          • chloeparker
            chloeparkerThursday, April 2, 2020 at 7:59 am
            Wow that is so scary I have a nightmare cause that thing 👍& follow me if you agree
            • cutiepie746
              cutiepie746Wednesday, March 4, 2020 at 11:39 am
              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!
              • lightfury
                lightfuryThursday, December 12, 2019 at 12:41 pm
                just creepy!😧
                • catnor1234
                  catnor1234Wednesday, March 6, 2019 at 7:37 am
                  ADORABLE but creepy!!!
                  • applemango
                    applemangoThursday, January 10, 2019 at 10:02 pm
                    That was creepy! (But cool!)
                    • izzy_isabella
                      izzy_isabellaThursday, January 10, 2019 at 4:38 pm
                      that was creepy and cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                      • schoolfriend
                        schoolfriendTuesday, February 23, 2021 at 1:11 pm
                        Yeah it was!