The Japanese Invent An Android That Smiles

By Dialogo
April 09, 2010

Japanese researchers at the University of Osaka have introduced a humanoid robot that can laugh and smile, in addition to imitating a person’s facial expressions, a creation they will test in a hospital so that it can keep the sick company. Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro, who has already imagined a family of robots with human faces, including one that is almost his clone, is satisfied with the naturalness of his new artificial woman. “A new technology always gives rise to fears and negative opinions,” he said. He added that his team wants to build robots with the capacity to express emotions. During a demonstration, the android, with long brown hair and dressed in a black skirt, smiled and wrinkled its forehead as a sign of irritation, almost simultaneously imitating a twenty-something woman who acted as its model. A camera filmed the young woman’s expressions and transmitted them to the robot using electrical signals. “I had the impression that I had a twin sister,” the model declared to reporters. “It smiles showing its teeth, which makes it really have a human appearance,” Ishiguro’s laboratory explained. It will be sold for around 10 million yen (108,000 dollars). Since the humanoid’s face, made of synthetic skin, does not have fully Japanese features, its inventors think that it will be easily accepted abroad. The android, named Geminoid-TMF, was commissioned by a hospital as an experiment, so that it can comfort patients and keep them company.
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