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The Asian Reporter
Pacific Northwest News q Volume 24 Number 13 q July 7, 2014 q www.asianreporter.com
Woman or machine? New
robots look creepily human
appeal with live bull
for delicate balance
REALISTIC ROBOT. Android robot Kodomoroid speaks during a press event at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation Miraikan in Tokyo. The lat-
est creations from Japanese robotics expert Hiroshi Ishiguro are a female-announcer robot called Otonaroid, a girl called Kodomoroid, and Telenoid, a mannequin head with
pointed arms that serves as a cuddly companion. The robots with silicon skin and artificial muscles were shown to reporters at the Miraikan museum. Kodomoroid read the
news without stumbling once and regurgitated complex tongue-twisters glibly. (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)
By Yuri Kageyama
AP Business Writer
OKYO — The new robot guides at a
Tokyo museum look so eerily
human and speak so smoothly they
almost outdo people — almost.
Japanese robotics expert Hiroshi
Ishiguro, an Osaka University professor,
says they will be useful for research on how
people interact with robots and on what
differentiates the person from the
“Making androids is about exploring
what it means to be human,” he told
reporters, “examining the question of what
of Michelle Wie
is emotion, what is awareness, what is
In a demonstration, the remote-
controlled machines moved their pink lips
in time to a voice-over, twitched their
eyebrows, blinked, and swayed their heads
from side to side. They stay seated but can
move their hands.
In a clear triumph, Kodomoroid read the
news without stumbling once and recited
complex tongue-twisters glibly.
The robot, designed with a girlish
appearance, can use a variety of voices,
such as a deep male voice one minute and a
squeaky girly voice the next. The speech
can be input by text, giving them perfect
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articulation, according to Ishiguro.
There were some glitches — such as the
lips not moving at all while the robot spoke,
or the Otonaroid announcer robot staying
silent twice when asked to introduce itself.
But glitches are common with robots
because they are delicate gadgetry
sensitive to their environment.
Kodomoroid and the woman robot
Otonaroid were joined at the demonstra-
tion by the minimally designed Telenoid, a
mannequin head with pointed arms that
serves as a cuddly companion.
The two life-size robots, which have
silicon skin and artificial muscles, are on
Continued on page 7
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