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Japan Robotics Hardware

Android Copy of Danish Man Unveiled 147

Posted by timothy
from the filled-with-chese dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Geminoid family, a series of ultra-realistic androids, each a copy of a real person, has a new member: Geminoid DK, a robot clone of a Danish researcher and the most realistic Geminoid yet. The robot has lifelike facial features and movements, blinking, smiling, frowning with incredible realism. The Danish researcher, Henrik Scharfe of Aalborg University, teamed up with Japanese animatronics firm Kokoro and roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro to create his robot twin, which he plans to use to study human-robot interaction and cultural differences in the perception of robots. This is the first Geminoid that is not based on a Japanese person; it's also the first bearded one."
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Android Copy of Danish Man Unveiled

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  • realistic looking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk (967686) <sirlewk&gmail,com> on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:21PM (#35401712)

    I was at first shocked at how realistic this was, but then I realized that I probably was thinking that because they didn't model as a young Japanese woman with perfect skin. Seriously, there are so many robot heads modelled that way, real young Japanese women are almost starting to seem robotic.

    • Some of the manufacturing shots are pretty disturbing, though.

      this one [ieee.org], for instance feeds exclusively on human fear...
    • by v1 (525388)

      I was also extremely impressed. Until you see some of the jerky movements a bit into the demo, there's no way you'd think it wasn't real. Realisting looking hair. Even the teeth are naturally a little uneven. None of that "final fantasy plastic skin" CGI look at all. The skin and hair look great.

      I don't understand why it's taken this long to figure out those basic concepts. Maybe they were getting a lot of "I don't know, it just doesn't look REAL" from people, but I know if they'd have asked ME I'd ha

      • I might suggest considering this viewpoint: producing someone with perfect skin is more of a challenge, and efforts like Geminoid DK mask those issues with flaws. If you stare at all of the stills on that page for long enough, you'll still see the slight unnaturalness of the android. Particularly of point is the translucence of the skin: check out the effect shown off in this link [renderosity.com]. In several of the head-on shots of the android, it looks like he's being lit from behind in a similar manner, even though the r
      • Movement aside, the biggest appearance issue is the eyes. The irises look wrong, probably because they're just paint on the surface of the eyeball. If they want to make them look more real, put the irises behind a lens of very slightly tinted glass, more like the structure of a real human eyeball. That would make a big difference.

        • by v1 (525388)

          I also noticed the eyes were a little unnatural. But I also noticed they were a great improvement from the usual. They had a very high gloss look to them, almost wet looking. Usually the eyes look very dry. These to me almost looked TOO glossy.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      realistic looking is just a trick of the eye for few seconds.

      but it's easy. I mean, it's just an artisan straightforward job to make it look "real", it's not even a triumph if they manage it - except if they plan a career in special effects. the article could be renamed "boring danish geezer orders an animatronic from a japanese company with his face with public danish funds".

      the rest of it, making it act like a man when nobody knows how a man should act is quite different. it can frown now, but it's just a

    • by arisvega (1414195)

      It is as realistic looking as a duplicate made out of wax.

      Seriously, it can only fool you for a few moments, and only if it's sitting down- it changes expressions as realistically as Jim Carey does.

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      Not to mention prior art. This Phillip K. Dick robot is both bearded and non-Japanese:

      http://chicagoist.com/2005/06/24/now_seriously_android_do_you_dream_of_electric_sheep.php [chicagoist.com]

  • by zill (1690130) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:21PM (#35401714)

    Android Copy of Danish Man Unveiled

    OK, who else thought "Danish Man" was the name of game that's being ported to Android?

    • by Haedrian (1676506)

      I'll wait for the iOS port thank you very much.

      Thank you, I'll be here all week.

    • Android Copy of Danish Man Unveiled

      OK, who else thought "Danish Man" was the name of game that's being ported to Android?

      I thought some Danish man's Android phone data had been leaked.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I assumed Danish Man was one of the increasingly bizarre titles for the latest version of Android.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I assumed Danish Man was one of the increasingly bizarre titles for the latest version of Android.

        It was either that or sticky bun.

    • Playbook only.
    • by Culture20 (968837)

      OK, who else thought "Danish Man" was the name of game that's being ported to Android?

      *Meekly raises hand*

      • by rubycodez (864176)
        I didn't think that. I thought it was a problem "apt-get install man-pages-da" could solve
    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:50PM (#35402132)

      Android Copy of Danish Man Unveiled

      OK, who else thought "Danish Man" was the name of game that's being ported to Android?

      Not me, but frankly we're more likely to see androids being built than popular games being ported to Android.

    • I actually thought "The Danish Man" was a name for some book that is somehow so important that I should have heard of it. Apparently not.

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      Android Copy of Danish Man Unveiled

      OK, who else thought "Danish Man" was the name of game that's being ported to Android?

      I thought slashdot had decided to go all out as a gay pron site.

  • am I the only one who thought it was more news about google's smarphone/tablet platform? :)

    androids are cool... but definitely fooled me for half a second

  • by camperdave (969942) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:24PM (#35401736) Journal
    Just an FYI folks: "Geminoid" is a registered trademark of Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The shark still looks fake.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That's no android.

    • by Canazza (1428553)

      It's only a matter of time before someone mistakes him for the android and shoots one thinking it's the other starting a chain of events that lead to humans spreading from Earth and colonising the galaxy.

  • !ultra (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Troll-Under-D'Bridge (1782952) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:44PM (#35401834) Journal

    The Geminoid family, a series of ultra-realistic androids, each a copy of a real person, has a new member

    A bit realistic perhaps, but definitely not ultra. I've bothered to actually watch the fine video, and the movements are still on the near side of the creepy valley. As for its classification as an android, really, it's not even a talking head, just little more than an animated wax dummy, able to blink and sigh but incapable of a decent conversation. The main use I see for this is in big budget Hollywood movies where you have to blow up your star actor. But CG can service that department fairly well already.

    • I can see other uses in the far future. Many people prefer to interact with humanoid devices. Whether it's an animated cartoon or an automaton, *some* people are more comfortable speaking to a face, even if it's a robot, than typing commands or talking into a machine. Obviously it's too expensive to put interactive robots into traditional human positions, but the things the researchers learn can help how other technology is designed. Maybe people expect a certain eye movement when someone asks a question

      • Re:!ultra (Score:5, Interesting)

        by HungryHobo (1314109) on Monday March 07, 2011 @05:22AM (#35403692)

        surprisingly enough many people are almost the opposite.

        If you get too far into the uncanny vally people can be hostile but stay well back and people will relate to machines just fine, they won't relate to them as people but they'll be fine thinking of them like really smart pets/animals.

        I came across a lovely article a while back.

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/05/AR2007050501009_pf.html [washingtonpost.com]

        People are quite ready to treat machines as they would animals, even going so far as to consider something that's happening to a bot to be inhumane.

        "The most effective way to find and destroy a land mine is to step on it.

        This has bad results, of course, if you're a human. But not so much if you're a robot and have as many legs as a centipede sticking out from your body. That's why Mark Tilden, a robotics physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, built something like that. At the Yuma Test Grounds in Arizona, the autonomous robot, 5 feet long and modeled on a stick-insect, strutted out for a live-fire test and worked beautifully, he says. Every time it found a mine, blew it up and lost a limb, it picked itself up and readjusted to move forward on its remaining legs, continuing to clear a path through the minefield.

        Finally it was down to one leg. Still, it pulled itself forward. Tilden was ecstatic. The machine was working splendidly.

        The human in command of the exercise, however -- an Army colonel -- blew a fuse.

        The colonel ordered the test stopped.

        Why? asked Tilden. What's wrong?

        The colonel just could not stand the pathos of watching the burned, scarred and crippled machine drag itself forward on its last leg.

        This test, he charged, was inhumane. "

        It might be easier to get people to bond to a machine as they would a guidedog rather than as they would to another human.

        The veteran explosives technician looming over Bogosh was visibly upset. He insisted he did not want a new robot. He wanted Scooby-Doo back.

        "Sometimes they get a little emotional over it," Bogosh says. "Like having a pet dog. It attacks the IEDs, comes back, and attacks again. It becomes part of the team, gets a name. They get upset when anything happens to one of the team. They identify with the little robot quickly. They count on it a lot in a mission."

        • The biggest problem is that when something looks human people have too high expectations of it ...

          So when it fails to act human (as it will) they are frustrated by it, and hate it, if it looks like a dog, or cartoon then they have much lower expectations which it is (just) possible to meet

          This looked to me to be a just too perfect human acting like a robot, until about halfway through the video and then it got more and more obvious it was not human

          Interacting with this is likely to be slow frustrating and

      • by gl4ss (559668)

        so it's an ui for people who wish everything could be done by telling your slave to do it? it wouldn't be too expensive if they worked any better than a set of buttons to achieve all the things you could get the robot head to activate.

        do you know what it _really_ is? it's a dayjob for about 2000 academics around the world who'd rather study what it feels like to watch a mannequin than do real science, paid for by taxes. the same guys who think touch panels are high tech and need similar study(while totally

    • by pavon (30274)

      The video shown is just the mechanical test; exercising each type of movement individually to see if it works. The other Geminoid robots have had smoother head motion than that, so I am eager to see how this one looks when it is done.

    • it's not even a talking head, just little more than an animated wax dummy, able to blink and sigh but incapable of a decent conversation.

      It *is* capable of decent conversation. The guy controlling it just needs to talk -- consider it a way better version of AnyBots or any other telepresence robot. The only thing lacking is a huge portable air compressor to lug around the office :D Oh, pneumatics.

    • by Hojima (1228978)

      I've bothered to actually watch the fine video, and the movements are still on the near side of the creepy valley.

      Saying that it's a bit creepy is like saying that Nazis are a bit anti-semitic. If I saw that thing in my room I wouldn't rest until a priest douses its ashes with holy water.

    • The Geminoid family, a series of ultra-realistic androids, each a copy of a real person, has a new member

      A bit realistic perhaps, but definitely not ultra.

      I agree, since this is a Japanese company, I'd say they've achieved S Class animatronics [tvtropes.org]...( not Ultra, and certainly not over 9000! )

      The jerky movements aside (it's a rough mechanical test), once its software is fine tuned I could see something like this hooked up to something like IBM's Watson (but with opinions & emotions instead of just answers in the form of questions).

      Personally, I'm looking at the cyborg implications -- Take today's synthetic lungs, heart pumps, dialysis, and IV nutrient del

    • by jez9999 (618189)

      As for its classification as an android, really, it's not even a talking head, just little more than an animated wax dummy, able to blink and sigh but incapable of a decent conversation.

      I thought you said it WASN'T a realistic depiction of a man.

    • by l0ungeb0y (442022)

      the first thing I though of for a "main application" was for theme-park animatronics, such as Pirates for the Caribbean.

    • it's not even a talking head, just little more than an animated wax dummy, able to blink and sigh but incapable of a decent conversation

      So at least it could be a high-school teacher then.

  • by orkysoft (93727) <[moc.xoblaerym] [ta] [tfosykro]> on Sunday March 06, 2011 @09:48PM (#35401860) Journal

    This robot is really just an animatronic device, like they have at Disneyland (or so I hear). It's controlled by someone behind the scenes using a computer. The purpose is to study how people interact with it, knowing that it's not real. The interesting thing about regular robots is that they're supposed to control themselves, and research concentrates not just on designing new kinds of sensors and actuators (limbs) and body plans, but especially the software to control them.

    Still, it looks very impressive, but I'm not sure how this progresses the development of sensors, actuators, or control software. It seems more like a sophisticated crafts project to me. Are the researchers also going to have test subjects interact with a non-realistic human-shaped robot to see how they react to it, to compare with the realistic looking one?

    • The interesting thing about regular robots is that they're supposed to control themselves

      I'm not sure what you mean by regular robot. But there are precedents for remotely controlled robots, both in science fiction and real life. E.g. the battle droids [starwars.com] of the Trade Federation in the Star Wars prequels appear to be remote controlled:

      "These droids would blindly obey orders spoken to them by their commanders or transmitted to them from an orbital Droid Control ship. The efforts of Bravo Squadron, and Anakin S

      • The droids may have had some sensory autonomy but were largely "mindless", pretty much like a phone "app" whose data processing back end is in the cloud.

        While irrevelevant to the article I thought to still stick my neck here: the droids still seem to process all the sensory-local data themselves, only co-ordinating with the Control ship such elements as they deem necessary. A billion droids sending all sensory data to the Control ship every millisecond would require such amounts of bandwidth that it would be completely impossible to achieve. Thus the droids are mostly in control of themselves.

        One could also argue that it's the Control ship that itself is th

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      I got slightly used socks they could have used. and an address to order a robotic hand that mirrors a real hand if they wish to hide the fact that it is a human controlling or not.

      but this way the so called scientist got some face-time, literally.

    • by sorak (246725)

      Are the researchers also going to have test subjects interact with a non-realistic human-shaped robot to see how they react to it, to compare with the realistic looking one?

      Exactly. That's why they should create Bender! Sure, it would have the side-effect of being awesome, and making slashdot's front page once every three weeks, but it would also promote science, or whatever that article is supposed to be about.

  • The pictures and video are pretty interesting, but also awfully short. It would be neat to see some combined expressions rather than just simple blinking and mouth movement. Speaking of the movement in the video, was anyone else reminded of Not Quite Human [imdb.com]? Haven't thought about that movie in quite a while :)

    Also, can anyone say "uncanny valley" [ieee.org]? They've definitely made progress, but there's still something... not quite right about it. Considering that the easiest part of creating an android is probably the static external features such as skin, hair, and eyes (lots of practice from movie/TV makeup), it's interesting that a still photo still triggers the cues which tell us "that's not real."

    Now only a few things left to do:

    1. Create an evil twin bent death, carnage, and annihilation
    3. ???
    4. Profit! (well, that, or doom the human race)

    • 1. Evil twin. Been done [imdb.com]. (OK, by someone else, not the person being "twinned").

      Did nobody else think of the "Evil Robot Us-es"?

    • by osu-neko (2604)

      They've definitely made progress, but there's still something... not quite right about it. Considering that the easiest part of creating an android is probably the static external features such as skin, hair, and eyes (lots of practice from movie/TV makeup), it's interesting that a still photo still triggers the cues which tell us "that's not real."

      Actually, I think he looks perfectly real, as long as it's a still shot and his mouth is closed. The movements look wrong, and the mouth looks off even in a still shot if it's open, which I'm guessing is related somehow to how they're controlling the movement -- it doesn't quite properly simulate every last facial muscle that's involved, and so even in a still shot, with the mouth open not everything's where it's supposed to be.

      • I'm more bothered by the eyes. I think, though I may be incorrect here, that with human eyes, they do not open at exactly the same time. They open with some independent variations of speed and timing per eye. Which isn't to say that they are far off here, only that with human eyes there is some degree of...randomness to the timings, in much the same way that you don't pronounce every word exactly the same way you did the moment before.

      • by Carewolf (581105)

        I always thought the open mouth resting position was an artifact from the original purpose of these robots. It seems a lot more "natural" on uhm.. androids of young japanese woman.

    • by gman003 (1693318)
      I think it's the eyes. The eyes still don't quite seem "alive". Makes sense - the eyes are the most difficult thing to replicate. It certainly is in video games - the shader code for eyes alone is usually larger than all the other shaders combined.

      Honestly, though, I think if they got the movements done properly (and had a good intelligence behind the curtain, artificial or human), I would be able to converse with the thing as though it were human. It's that close. The poses themselves are convincing, it'
    • by Jeremi (14640)

      The easiest Evil use for your robot twin is to have it sit calmly in a bar for an hour or two, while you commit whatever crime it is you want to commit. Presto, an airtight alibi is yours! (assuming you can get the robot into and out of the bar without anyone noticing, of course)

  • from TFA, I wish he cloned her wife instead...

  • A robot doesn't have to perfectly mimic a human to be commercially viable, just be close enough to be convincing in the dark.
    • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Sunday March 06, 2011 @10:42PM (#35402102)

      A robot doesn't have to perfectly mimic a human to be commercially viable, just be close enough to be convincing in the dark.

      Actually, if it perfectly mimicked a human being, it wouldn't be economically viable. Imagine, after some robo-sex, the fem-bot starts asking "So, when do you want to get married?" or "Why can't we live together? There is no reason for us to pay two rents."

  • They basically managed to make a so-so statue of someone that can move its eyes and mouth awkwardly? Unless this thing can walk around and crack-wise I'd be way more impressed by, say, a working Johnny 5.

    • by Kenoli (934612)
      My thoughts exactly. The people developing these things always seem to put far too much emphasis on the skin of the robot. It looks pretty good and all, but it may as well be a wax sculpture. It can't demonstrate any behavior that might pass as even remotely human-like.
  • He's no R. Daneel Olivaw, but he certainly might /look/ like him.

  • It looks like the father of the vault-dweller :S
  • "You'd just have to programme it to say What? and I don't understand and Where's the tea? Who'd know the difference?"

    That's what came to mind when I saw the Geminoid's expressions.

  • My question is - does Google control the kill switch?

  • Uncanny Valley.

    Except I can tell the movements are fake. However, The realism in the expressions once frozen is quite believable. They need to get some better PWM for controlling the eyelid movement and smoothing it out.

  • I, for one, welcome our new robotic overlords.
  • I wonder, if they made one of Christopher Walken, could you tell the difference?

  • by macraig (621737) <mark.a.craigNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday March 07, 2011 @04:42AM (#35403588)

    I think Brent Spiner should be Geminoided next. Can you imagine the convention possibilities? Trekkies everywhere will be wetting their pants.

  • About 2 seconds into the vid clips you can tell it's a creepy robot. I suppose some of the stills might fool you at first glance.
    • by gl4ss (559668)

      well, they need to do that pr... it cost a friggin lot to order it from the japanese. and I mean really, ordering it, from out-department, then receiving it and immediately firing it off to press. what kind of science is that. maybe slashdot will do lovedoll unpackings next.

  • They should have gone with Swedish woman android. I mean, surely they must have _some_ idea about what the technology is _actually_ going to be used for?
  • Whenever I read about androids I think about this: http://video.adultswim.com/robot-chicken/robotic-longevity.html [adultswim.com]

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