[Paleopsych] BBC: Japanese develop 'female' android
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Thu Jul 28 21:46:59 UTC 2005
Japanese develop 'female' android
Published: 2005/07/27 09:10:07 GMT
By David Whitehouse
Science editor, BBC News website
Japanese scientists have unveiled the most human-looking robot yet
devised - a "female" android called Repliee Q1.
She has flexible silicone for skin rather than hard plastic, and a
number of sensors and motors to allow her to turn and react in a
She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even
appears to breathe.
Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University says one day robots
could fool us into believing they are human.
Repliee Q1 is not like any robot you will have seen before, at least
outside of science-fiction movies.
She is designed to look human and although she can only sit at
present, she has 31 actuators in her upper body, powered by a nearby
air compressor, programmed to allow her to move like a human.
We have found that people forget she is an android while interacting
Prof Hiroshi Ishiguro
"I have developed many robots before," Repliee Q1's designer,
Professor Ishiguro, told the BBC News website, "but I soon realised
the importance of its appearance. A human-like appearance gives a
robot a strong feeling of presence."
Designed to look human
Before Repliee Q1, Professor Ishiguro developed Repliee R1 which had
the appearance of a five-year-old Japanese girl.
Its head could move in nine directions and it could gesture with its
arm. Four high-sensitivity tactile sensors were placed under the skin
of its left arm that made the android react differently to differing
The follow-up has the appearance of a Japanese woman. To program her
motion, a computer analysed the motions of a human and used them as a
template for the way Repliee Q1 moves.
She can be designed to follow the movement of a human wearing motion
sensors or to act independently.
"Repliee Q1 can interact with people. It can respond to people
touching it. It's very satisfying, although we obviously have a long
way to go yet."
Professor Ishiguro believes that it may prove possible to build an
android that could pass for a human, if only for a brief period.
"An android could get away with it for a short time, 5-10 seconds.
However, if we carefully select the situation, we could extend that,
to perhaps 10 minutes," he said.
"More importantly, we have found that people forget she is an android
while interacting with her. Consciously, it is easy to see that she is
an android, but unconsciously, we react to the android as if she were
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