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Japan Robotics Hardware

Japanese Build Robot Toddlers 81

kgeiger writes "The Japanese birth dearth may be crashing their population and rendering kids a rarity, but never fear! Robotics researchers at Osaka University are building robot babies to learn how people are supposed to interact with young children. For anyone who has raised real kids, cyberkiddies would seem a cheat unless they come with "why? Why? WHY?" and "No!" infinite loops and no OFF switch."
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Japanese Build Robot Toddlers

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  • by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @09:09PM (#35182598) Journal

    It's only an accurate simulation if 3/4ths of the robot kids are delivered 9 months after a surprise announcement that the recipient was getting one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 11, 2011 @09:33PM (#35182732)
    "Does master want Suiseiseki to give him a footrub-desu?" she purred.
    "No thank you," I said. "I'm rather tired. You should retire to your box."
    "But master-sama, Suiseiseki doesn't like her box-desu! I want to sleep in master-sama's bed-desu!"
    "Not tonight. You'll do as you're told."
    "Why doesn't master-sama have real girls in his bed?"
    "Is master-sama's penis too small for real girls?"
    "Why aren't you saying desu?"
    "Does he have to use dolls instead?"
    "Master-sama showed Suiseiseki his penis once."
    "It was too small even for dolls."

    With my right hand I snatched a pair of scissors from my desk and mashed them continually into her face. Her little body was smashed into kindling but I did not stop. Until her screams began to sound a bit like my voice, and I remembered that dolls did not scream, and they did not bleed. Suddenly there was feeling in my left hand for the first time in weeks. I lifted it out of the doll's wreckage, covered in splinters and dripping from scissored wounds. How long had my hand been inside there? How long had I been inside here, alone in my one-room apartment, talking to myself, going mad?

    The bolt scraped rust from the latch as I stepped outside. My eyes hurt, god the horizon ... it was a deal larger than 19 inches diagonally. But after five steps my breath quickened and my chest tightened and I turned back. Enough for today. Tomorrow I would try for six. A distant memory told me that when I reached two hundred and eighty, I would make it to the bus stop. And then I'd be free of this apartment, of this prison. And then there'd be nowhere in the world I couldn't go.

    Least of all the refunds counter at Moemart in Akihabara. For fuck's sake. Suiseiseki finishes her sentences with desu.
  • Re:It won't work... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hort_wort ( 1401963 ) on Friday February 11, 2011 @10:04PM (#35182884)

    How can you study this kind of thing using robots? No matter what you do, you can't simulate small children well enough to make people act the same around the robot as a real kid. It's a nice concept, but it'll never get anything done except entertain. Plus I bet we'll never hear about this again in the US.

    I remember reading how when people encounter a robot for the first time, they avoid eye contact out of respect until they realize it's a robot they're talking to. All you have to fool is the casual observer to get human reactions. But then, even a casual observer may notice a disembodied head being atypical....

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller