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Robot broadcasters make debut in Japan - could rest of world be next?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/25/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Eerie, lifelike replicants recite news effortlessly without stumbling

"In the 21st Century, the entire world will be like Japan," one trendy philosopher said in the 1960s. If this is the case, we may soon be getting our news and information from lifelike androids - human-like, yet not human enough. "Kodomoroid" and "Otonaroid" are both non-biological news presenters that have made a hit in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Designed with a cute, girlish appearance, the robots can use a variety of voices, such as a deep male voice one minute, and a squeaky girly voice the next.

Designed with a cute, girlish appearance, the robots can use a variety of voices, such as a deep male voice one minute, and a squeaky girly voice the next.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
6/25/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Technology

Keywords: Robot, Japan, newscasters


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The creepy-looking robots Kodomoroid and Otonaroid speak so smoothly they are eerily lifelike. Japanese robotics expert Hiroshi Ishiguro says they will be useful for research on how people interact with robots.

"Making androids is about exploring what it means to be human," he tells reporters. He say the robots make us examine "the question of what is emotion, what is awareness, what is thinking."

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Japanese robotic scientist Hiroshi Ishiguro (right) poses next to girl android robot named Kodomoroi

Japanese robotic scientist Hiroshi Ishiguro (right) poses next to girl android robot named Kodomoroid (left). In a demonstration, the remote-controlled machines moved their pink lips in time to a voice-over, twitched their eyebrows, blinked and swayed their heads from side to side.


The remote-controlled machines moved their lips in time to a voice-over, twitched their eyebrows, blinked and swayed their heads from side-to-side in a demonstration. Powered by compressed air and servomotors, the seated androids were able to move their hands.

Designed with a cute, girlish appearance, the robots can use a variety of voices, such as a deep male voice one minute, and a squeaky girly voice the next.

Kodomoroid read the news without stumbling once and recited complex tongue-twisters glibly. The robo

Kodomoroid read the news without stumbling once and recited complex tongue-twisters glibly. The robots, designed with a girlish appearance, can use a variety of voices, such as a deep male voice one minute and a squeaky girly voice the next.


The speech can be input by text, giving them perfect articulation, according to Professor Ishiguro.

All was not so smooth and imperceptible - sometimes the robots' lips didn't move when the figures spoke, or the Otonaroid announcer robot staying silent twice when asked to introduce itself.

These glitches are common with robots because they are delicate gadgetry sensitive to their environment, said the researchers.

Kodomoroid and the woman robot Otonaroid were joined at the demonstration by the minimally designed Telenoid, a mannequin head with pointed arms that serves as a teddy bear-like companion.

The robots, which have silicone skin and artificial muscles, will be on display starting Wednesday,

The robots, which have silicone skin and artificial muscles, will be on display starting Wednesday, at Miraikan museum, or the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, in Tokyo. Pictured is Otonaroid (left) with Japanese robotics expert Hiroshi Ishiguro (right).


In what appeared like a scene out of 'Pinocchio', Kodomoroid asked Professor Ishiguro why he had created it. The professor replied that he wanted to create a child news announcer.

The robots feature silicone skin and artificial muscles and will be on display at the Miraikan museum, or the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, in Tokyo.
 
Professor Ishiguro says that Japan leads the world in playful companion robots, but did acknowledge that Japan was behind the U.S. in military robots.

"We will have more and more robots in our lives in the future," Professor Ishiguro said.

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