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Robotics News

Japanese Develop 'Female' Android 682

jolyon writes "The BBC is reporting that 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, can flutter her eyelids, move her hands like a human and even appears to breathe. She can only sit though at present, so we're a long way from Blade Runner yet."
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Japanese Develop 'Female' Android

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  • Videos (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:06AM (#13183937)
    Videos here [], but dying fast.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:25AM (#13184019)
    Have you seen the hands on the picture? To me they look disgusting. Like male Hands or working Gloves.
  • by JabberWokky (19442) <> on Thursday July 28, 2005 @05:30AM (#13184030) Homepage Journal
    The concept you are describing has been dubbed the "Uncanny Valley" and has been studied since the late 70s.

    Here's a wikipedia link []. Check out the very easy to understand graph that presents the basic concept.


  • by Shihar (153932) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @06:50AM (#13184251)
    Dude, I have no idea what Japan you are talking about, but the one in THIS world is extremely culturally isolated and loathes immigration. Japan does a neat sleight of hand when it comes to immigration. Its laws, if you read them, are fairly reasonable. However, Japan does not use 'law' to determine who can and cannot immigrate. Japan uses 'policy'. Japanese policy is ugly. The worst abuse I have ever seen of it was when I visited Japan for work related reasons. There I met a woman who had lived in Japan all her life, but was the grand parents of imported Korean labor. She was a legal resident, but not a citizen. Let's put it this way, France, which is notorious for having tight immigration laws, has a more liberal immigration system in practice then Japan.

    If you want a fun read, try the below. tml []
    The Immigration Control and Refugee-Recognition Act (ICRRA) was passed in 1951 and subsequently amended in 1981 and 1989. According to this law there are a total of 28 statuses of residence for entry, work or stay in Japan. The various statuses of residence depend upon the activity the foreigner will be performing while in Japan. Each status explicitly states what the foreigner is allowed to do while in Japan and how long he or she is allowed to stay. The statuses range from that of diplomat, journalist or professor, to engineer, college student or temporary visitor.
    Noticeably absent from the various statuses of residence is that of unskilled worker. This is at the heart of Japan's present immigration farce. Japan includes "entertainers" and "trainees" in the "skilled" worker category. Interestingly these workers account for about one-half of the "skilled" foreign workers in Japan. "Entertainer" is the largest category out of all the sixteen skilled labor categories in terms of numbers of visas issues. The majority of these people are night clubs hostesses or working in the Japan sex industry, and most of them are women from the Philippines, Thailand, Korea, Columbia and more recently Caucasian women from former East Block nations. In addition, these activities also happen to be an important sources of revenues for Japanese organized crime, better known in the vernacular as the yakuza.
    Trainees are the seconded largest category during the last few years to fill labor shortages in unskilled or 3K job-related industries. When the ICRRA was revised in 1989, it was mainly for the purpose of stemming the growing tide of illegal foreign workers into Japan. In 1988 men were primarily engaged in construction and factory work. The presence of these foreign men as unskilled laborers meant that Japanese industry was becoming more and more dependent upon cheap foreign labor. Soon there was a big push from Japanese industry to the Ministry of Justice to cure labor shortages by increased use of foreign "trainees." This category began to replace illegal workers and continued to fuel cheap unskilled labor into Japan's 3K industries. Student categories also assisted in supplying labor to many night- and daytime industries.
    The Government of Japan made these categories to fill the gap in its labor shortage as Japan needs unskilled labor, and the rest of Asia is willing to supply it. In regard to the two categories "entertainer" and "trainees," the problem of the labor shortage farce should be properly addressed because these categories make up the dark side of Japan's immigration law. This has also greatly contributed to the exploitation of unskilled cheap labor from Asia without proper welfare and protection by Japanese society.
  • by DigitumDei (578031) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @06:58AM (#13184282) Homepage Journal
    According to this article [], Tokyo has 2.84% of its population as immigrants.

    Now lets compare that number to these []. Miami at 60%, New York at 36%, London at 28%, to name a few.

    In this day and age for a major city to be down there at 2.84%, qualifies it as 'ethnically isolationist'.

    But hey, claiming that Japan is isolationist MUST BE RACIST!

  • by Nexx (75873) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @08:44AM (#13185008)
    Japan is not isolationist. However, Japanese people are some of the most racist people you'll meet. Before you start turning on your flame throwers, please bear in mind I am Japanese. I grew up there for a while, moved to the US, and then spent 2.5 years there as an adult.

    Having said all that, if you're white or Japanese, then you have nothing to fear from their racism. Heavens help you if you're any other ethnicity; the stereotype is that you're poor and you're probably going to end up as a criminal.

    Fortunately, these views are changing, but it will take a long, long time before cultural outlook and stereotype change sufficiently.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 28, 2005 @09:24AM (#13185391)
    gynoid, gynoidal: A robot shaped like or in the form of a woman as opposed to an android (like a man). mage4.html []
  • by metternich (888601) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @09:36AM (#13185536)
    Vaucanson's [] Flute Player was a a female android.
  • by trongey (21550) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @10:09AM (#13185907) Homepage
    What is the only thing she can do so far? Flutter her eyes.

    You forgot the part about moving her hand like a human. It didn't specify what human hand movements, but we can guess.
  • by TheoMurpse (729043) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @10:11AM (#13185921) Homepage
    Joo Puburicu

    I think you meant "Joo Paburikku" ;)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 28, 2005 @10:20AM (#13186032)
    But look at the bright side: your guy-friends will really be your friends and not just, you know, trying to get into your panties.

    ha ha, surely you jest []

  • A buried detail (Score:4, Informative)

    by ikegami (793066) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @10:38AM (#13186190)

    I saw a mini-documentary on this robot last month on Discovery Planet (during their "Japan Week").

    This robot is not self-sufficient. It's power supply (in the form of compressed air) is external to its body. The article mentioned this, but the comment ("powered by a nearby air compressor") was easy to miss.

    I also found her movements to be a bit rough. It's been a while, so I don't remember exactly what I found wrong with them, but it might be related to her limited range of movement. They were talking about the need to increase (double??) the number of "motors" (or whatever you call what she uses).

    They were examining her motion by having someone wear motion detectors on a person and having the robot mimic the person's movements. They probably had motio detectors on her too -- I don't remember -- to compare the difference.

  • by drotobuso (900960) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @12:21PM (#13187452)
    This BBC story seems to be a fresh rewrite of this old National Geographic piece: 10_050610_robot.html [] ... which was blogged here in mid-month: .html [] The news event unfortunately did not make it to the robot expo's event site here: _00.html [] If you search on co-creator "Hiroshi Ishiguru" you get little more than this story, however.
  • by kiddailey (165202) on Thursday July 28, 2005 @02:06PM (#13188673) Homepage

    Was wondering when this was going to appear on Slashdot.

    When I first saw this on another site, I did a bit of surfing around and found the Kokoro-Dreams site that has a few pictures and (more importantly) videos of the ladies in action.

    All but one of these is in WMV format and the other is a Real Media file. I would have Coral-Cached this whole site, but they've implemented some nasty referer checking and it won't work.

    So instead, I Cached the individual video files for your enjoyment: ctroid-mc/actroid-mc.wmv [] (3.7 MB) ctroid-info/actroid-info.wmv [] (2.9 MB) ovie/actroid/actroid-hi.rm [] (5 MB) ctroid-der/actroid_der.wmv [] (13.7 MB)

    There's also this Japanese PDF file (not many pictures): troid/20050319_aichi_expo2/actroid.pdf [] (940 KB)

    If you're interested in surfing around the original Japanese site, you can do so here: []


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