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Robotics Hardware Science Technology

Android Copy of Young Woman Unveiled In Japan 264

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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  • Re:Dammit Japan. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 04, 2010 @01:41PM (#31725448)
    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 [] on wikipedia.
  • by moteyalpha ( 1228680 ) on Sunday April 04, 2010 @02:18PM (#31725704) Homepage Journal
    Skin is an organ and can be grown or transplanted on a suitable substrate. Already in the works. []. 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 valleys.
    Though it does seem more like a science fiction movie such as reanimator [].
  • 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.
  • 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" [] 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.


  • Pygmalion (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Valen0 ( 325388 ) <michael AT elvenstar DOT tv> on Sunday April 04, 2010 @05:46PM (#31727266)

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

  • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:41AM (#31734554)

    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 a relatively small amount of attention to such "non-functional" movements we'll see adequately canny robot faces in fairly short order, particularly given the huge range of perfectly acceptable facial behaviour that humans actually have.

    I get the sense that no one complaining here has ever dealt with a person whose face is partially paralyzed, or burned, or what-have-you. Anyone who has knows that you get past those aspects very quickly, and simply start seeing the person. But I'm sure the same people complaining here will still be complaining about the uncanny aspect of robot faces long after a wealth of empirical data has shown that the average person can't tell the difference without already knowing the object they are dealing with is a robot.

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