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Robotics Hardware Science Technology

Android Copy of Young Woman Unveiled In Japan 264

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-can-she-serve-as-a-floatation-device dept.
An anonymous reader writes "According to IEEE Spectrum, Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro, who had previously built a robot copy of himself, has now created a new android — and it's a 'she.' Geminoid F, a copy of a woman in her 20s with long dark hair, exhibits facial expressions more naturally than Ishiguro's previous android. 'Whereas the Geminoid HI-1 has some 50 actuators, the new Geminoid F has just 12. What's more, the HI-1 robot requires a large external box filled with compressors and valves. With Geminoid F, the researchers embedded air servo valves and an air servo control system into its body, so the android requires only a small external compressor.' It's also much better looking. Has the Japanese android master finally overcome the uncanny valley?"
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Android Copy of Young Woman Unveiled In Japan

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  • by santax (1541065) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:30PM (#31725330)
    I want one that looks like my girlfriend! Man, I'm gonna hack myself a mute-button into this one :D She's gonna be like, perfect!
  • Finally (Score:4, Funny)

    by Johnny Fusion (658094) <zenmondo@gma i l . c om> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:30PM (#31725332) Homepage Journal
    My dreams of a robot girlfriend are one step closer to being actualized
    • Re:Finally (Score:5, Funny)

      by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:59PM (#31725604)

      My dreams of a robot girlfriend are one step closer to being actualized

      I suppose the important questions for you to ask before welcoming this robot girlfriend into your life will be:
      * Does she run Linux?
      - If not, can you install Linux with or without a 'hack'?
      * What flavor of Linux would be best for a robot girlfriend? (and, no, you can't use 'GirLinux')
      * Will she still be considered 'female' once she's running Linux or will she be reset to a virgin teenage boy?
      * What type of DRM will she have?
      - What will the pirate hack to break her DRM be called?
      * And last, but not least, can she be programmed not to dump you?

      • * What type of DRM will she have?

        Pay the [place favorite licensing org here] a monthly fee or you have to pull out when you cum.

      • Re:Finally (Score:5, Funny)

        by Baseclass (785652) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:29PM (#31725810)
        Imagine a Beowulf Cluster of these.
      • I'd also advise being wary of certain Creative Commons licenses - robot or not, you might pick up a nasty bug deposited by someone else in the commons.

      • More importantly, what does the EULA says?
        Will anything that's "installed" or "uploaded" inside the robot automatically become the properly of the Robotic Company like what Facebook does to its users?

      • Re:Finally (Score:5, Funny)

        by DrVxD (184537) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @03:56PM (#31726500) Homepage Journal

        * Does she run Linux?

        Nope, this is one of those times when you really want Windows instead of Linux.
        After all, which one do you think goes down more often? *rimshot*

        • by Baseclass (785652)
          If you intend on slipping your robotic girlfriend the digital equivalent of a ruffie every now and then, by all means install Windows on her.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by AmberBlackCat (829689)
        You can install Linux but there's no driver support for the mouth or vagina...
        • As long as the kernel developers focus on the vagina support and not mouth support for the next kernel release, I can wait.

      • * Will she still be considered 'female' once she's running Linux or will she be reset to a virgin teenage boy?

        Unfortunately, I don't think too many teenagers get into Linux these days. At least less so than in the past, I wager..

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by CAIMLAS (41445)

        You laugh at him, but you need to realize something: most of your girlfriends are likely being served up to you via a Linux machine already.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Miseph (979059)

        "* Does she run Linux?

        Nope, Windows XXX.

        - If not, can you install Linux with or without a 'hack'?

        Yes, but installing anything from a floppy is obviously out of the question.

        * What flavor of Linux would be best for a robot girlfriend? (and, no, you can't use 'GirLinux')

        To be honest it doesn't much matter... the speech modules are poorly written no matter which you use, all of the personality packages clearly suffer from Asperger's, and the firmware for *ahem* down below was clearly written by somebody with n

    • ... who had previously built a robot copy of himself, has now created a new android and it's a 'she.'

      It's only a matter of time http://xkcd.com/600/ [xkcd.com]

    • Re:Finally (Score:4, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:33PM (#31725834)

      That's hardly a Troll.

      Whoever produces the first practical, reasonably lifelike fuckbot is going to be very, very rich. Just because the rest of us don't want one doesn't mean they won't sell in droves.

      After all, the inconvenient part about sex with another person is that it requires another person. A practical fuckbot would get rid of that barrier to entry. :)

  • Dammit Japan. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tybalt_Capulet (1400481) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:30PM (#31725334)

    Since it's from Japan, I assume you can have sex with it, and it will be on the market in three months.

    • by Jedi Alec (258881) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:32PM (#31725350)

      Better make sure the accelerator won't get stuck though!

      • Better make sure the accelerator won't get stuck though!

        Are you kidding?! That would be the best part!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Does anyone else hate the word "gynoid" as much as me? It's never used in the article... but someone tagged it onto the story - it's so utterly wanky fanboyish it provokes a real loathing in me. It's also a worthless neologism article [wikipedia.org] on wikipedia.
      • Does anyone else hate the word "gynoid" as much as me?

        Yes ... but mostly because it makes this female robot sound like a guy. That pretty much kills it for me.

      • Re:Dammit Japan. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gilgongo (57446) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:12PM (#31725674) Homepage Journal

        It's also a worthless neologism article [wikipedia.org] on wikipedia.

        _What is it_ with people who dislike the documentation of neologisms on Wikipedia? Where else are you going to be able to find out what a word like "gynoid" means (which I'd never heard of before now)?

        If anything, I'd favour the deletion of all non-neologised terms from Wikipedia on the grounds that nobody needs to know what a "table" is or read about Abraham Lincoln because they can always go out and buy a damn book.

        The sheer irony of people calling for articles to be deleted because they are neologisms on the one hand, while praising Wikipedia on the other for being a fountain of contemporary knowledge on the other, is just beyond all understanding.

    • by Zorque (894011) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:24PM (#31725766)

      I wonder how often the developers groped the robot as they were building it.

    • by pcolaman (1208838)

      And it will have tentacles

  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:32PM (#31725346)

    Google is taking this new technology to amazing heights!

    • by TeknoHog (164938)

      Google is taking this new technology to amazing heights!

      Actually, Google should probably sue them for making an "Android". After all, they did threaten the Finnish robotics company Zendroid on the same basis.

  • "With Geminoid F, the researchers embedded air servo valves and an air servo control system into its body, so the android requires only a small external compressor."

    Oh yeah... I just wanna touch that small external compressor of yours. I also like your top, it really shows off your air servo valves... kind cold in here isn't it?

  • by greymond (539980) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:32PM (#31725354) Homepage Journal

    I'm down with my real doll android, aka Cherry 2000, being able to go get me a beer and thrust back, but as soon as she starts yappin at me, it's back to the whores.

  • ... not to mention better. These things remind me of why the first terminators failed in their tasks as infiltrators. They just looked like machines with rubber skin over them. This just makes them all the more creepy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by moteyalpha (1228680)
      Skin is an organ and can be grown or transplanted on a suitable substrate. Already in the works. [physorg.com]. So I am guessing that it is just a hop skip and jump to a real cyborg. It would probably be cheaper too and self repairing.
      Cherry 2010 and if it follows Moore's law they will be posting on slashdot by Cherry 2020.
      I would guess that this would be a life extension method at its completion, which allows space for the brain and spinal cord along with an interface. I think that is another of those uncanny valley
  • by santax (1541065)
    Makes me wonder if they can also provide a fleshlight-module. Bet you thought about that one too, didn't you AC? :P
  • Does it... (Score:5, Funny)

    by oldhack (1037484) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:41PM (#31725442)
    Does the android come with the tentacle monster? Or is it sold separately?
  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by lyinhart (1352173) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:47PM (#31725500)
    So... how much longer till they produce one that passes the Voight-Kampff test?
  • Goddess, this has been up for minutes and nobody's made the obvious comment...Chii!!!!

    And if you don't get the ref...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEvyHXNhHAc [youtube.com]

  • As always, Robot Chicken cuts to the chase

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O_rXZ381vo [youtube.com]

  • Welcome to the Hall of Presidents. [go.com]
  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mark-t (151149) <`markt' `at' `lynx.bc.ca'> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:00PM (#31725606) Journal

    Has the Japanese android master finally overcome the uncanny valley?

    No.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      True, but the gap is getting smaller.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      IMHO "uncanny valley" just means "robotics engineers don't understand people". Whether we feel comfortable interacting with something has little to do with whether it visually approximates Homo Sapiens: Humans relate to other species all the time. Animated movies and TV shows are full of characters that don't resemble humans at all. A long scene [youtube.com] in the movie A.I. of an android grotesquerie that should epitomize the "uncanny valley" elicits sympathy, not fear. Why are these characters so easy to relate

  • Are you kidding? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by barfy (256323) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:07PM (#31725644)

    This is exactly the valley. It looks like a robot. The valley is huge, and it won't be solved by 12 actuators. Unless you're mostly blind.

    • Exactly. Most robots don't even come close to reaching the uncanny valley. This one does, which is an achievement in itself. We won't reach the other side of the valley until a robot is indistinguishable from a human.
    • by Angst Badger (8636) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @03:14PM (#31726170)

      Seriously. The engineer is plainly making progress over his previous attempts, but he's got a long way to go. Humans are very good at reading subtle cues in other humans, like being able to tell when a friend is distracted by some unexpressed concern. That's what an android engineer is up against. This latest effort is immediately recognizable as a non-human when in motion, and something seems distinctly off about it in still pictures. And considering that even computer-rendered humans in movies -- which is arguably an easier problem -- are still less than 100% convincing in closeups, I'm not holding my breath for convincing androids any time soon.

    • by cutecub (136606) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @03:32PM (#31726300)
      ...then we sure as hell aren't going to be able to get robotic characters to act human.

      CGI animators, in some sense, have a much easier task then the roboticist. Its much easier to program a full musculature into an animated character than to physically build a robotic one.

      The difficulty of all this is exemplified by Robert Zemeckis' dismal "Polar Express" and "A Christmas Carol". Even when capturing hundreds of control points on the faces of the actors, you're still left teetering on the edge of the Uncanny Valley.

      "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" [ted.com] and "Avatar" were more successful because they did complete surface capture of the actors faces rather than point-capture.

      Which gets back to the difficulty of making robots appear human. Its the same problem, magnified 1000 times by the fact that, in essence, you have to pack the equivalent of a millions of "control-points" into the robots face.

      Not an easy task.

      -Sean

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by radtea (464814)

        Which gets back to the difficulty of making robots appear human. Its the same problem, magnified 1000 times by the fact that, in essence, you have to pack the equivalent of a millions of "control-points" into the robots face.

        You're thinking about this like a software guy, not a hardware guy. The human face doesn't have that many control points. It has a relatively small set of muscles and a bunch of connective tissue with known (albeit nonlinear) properties.

        The problem is that much of what humans do with facial expression is "non-functional" in the sense that it doesn't involve any practical intent or communication. We blink, we chew our lips, we move our muscles simply because stillness is fatiguing. I'm betting that with

    • I have only seen the screenshot but to me the "static" one is definitively beyond the valley and "human". Now , how it looks like in film is the next question.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AmberBlackCat (829689)
      I have found there are guys who prefer you to be a little machine-like. Maybe feelings and emotions bother them. Maybe they'll prefer this over a really realistic model.
  • I know a few co-workers who'll probably all be Apple apologists about this next time I see them and promise the iPhone copy of a young woman will come soon, but I gotta say, I knew the open nature of the platform would make it possible on Android first, meaning my trusty Nexus One can...

    Oh, wait, that's not what you... oh, I see. *sigh*

  • by RightwingNutjob (1302813) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:25PM (#31725780)
    Having had my ear to the ground in robotics for the last few years, it seems to me that this is a wasted effort. Much more fundamental problems in robot-human interaction, basic things like being able to track a moving object in the room, or walking on two legs without having each movement preprogrammed, have yet to be solved reliably. Even if she looked perfect, the fact that she'd trip and fall over any unexpected bump in the floor and won't have the software to make eye contact or shake your hand will make the valley very very deep.
    • Even if she looked perfect, the fact that she'd trip and fall over any unexpected bump in the floor ... will make the valley very very deep.

      Hmmm. Sounds like you know which way around she'll land after that fall!

  • by petsounds (593538) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:28PM (#31725800)
    The eyes seem better than his last effort, but the mouth area is really where it falls short. There isn't enough subtlety in mimicking muscle movements around the lip area, and the mouth opening and closing is a real giveaway. Although the jaw hinge seems a bit off, I think what's really going on is the lack of skin movement during articulation. The "skin" not visibly stretching creates a plastic, robotic appearance. Still, it's interesting work. I don't agree that we should be making robots that look like people though. It seems like a conscious attempt at anthropomorphism, and even if the physical appearance eventually becomes flawless, there will always be an uncanny valley in the way the robot fails to act with human subtlety.
  • Anyone else look at this and think there was some kind of e-girl for their android phone?
  • Wow, it just hit me that everytime I hear or read "android" I automatically think it refers to the google operating system. For a few moments the headline caused a brainspasm as I tried to figure out how that was possible.

    Now I wonder what the implications would be if google started claiming copyright on the word android...

  • But... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    ...can she FOLD TOWELS?

  • by Paracelcus (151056) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:54PM (#31726000) Journal

    Can you get electrocuted during bukakke?

  • If so, some scary stuff is near. It wont need much processing on board if you can incorporate the compressor and then wireless.

  • WOW! The robot band at Chucky Cheese is going to be so psyched!
  • hmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @03:36PM (#31726330) Homepage Journal

    "exhibits facial expressions more naturally "

    What facial expressions? All I saw in the video were mouth movement up and down and eyes moved.

    The texture of the skin is amazingly natural as well as posture, but "facial expressions"?

  • How long until realdoll licenses this for all the 40-year-old comic book guy-type guys living in their mothers' basements?

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @04:55PM (#31726920) Journal
    NOT does she have a vagina. Those are easy to build - just look at realdoll.com.

    NOT that you can fuck it - again - see the real doll site for perfectly fuckable pieces of plastic.

    The REAL question is: Does she swallow? That takes sensitivity, judgment, timing, and a willingness to hoover baby batter.

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:26PM (#31727140) Homepage Journal

    DON'T DATE ROBOTS! [wikipedia.org].

                                                                                           

  • Pygmalion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Valen0 (325388) <valen@e[ ]m.us ['sco' in gap]> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:46PM (#31727266)

    I certainly hope this story doesn't turn into a modern day retelling of Pygmalion [wikipedia.org] .

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