Tuesday, July 19, 2005

New robot approaches Android quality

Japanese designers have premiered a new robot design that approaches android quality in its human mimicry. "Repliee Q1" debuted at the World Expo in Japan late last month.
... [it] gestured, blinked, spoke, and even appeared to breathe. Shown with co-creator Hiroshi Ishiguru of Osaka University, the android is partially covered in skinlike silicone. Q1 is powered by a nearby air compressor, and has 31 points of articulation in its upper body. Internal sensors allow the android to react "naturally." It can block an attempted slap, for example. But it's the little, unconscious movements that give the robot its eerie verisimilitude: the slight flutter of the eyelids, the subtle rising and falling of the chest, the constant, nearly imperceptible shifting so familiar to humans.

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