During the past few weeks, the World was introduced to Pepper the sales representative, Bob the security guard, and Hitchbot the hitch-hiking robot. But the robo-craze is all but over, as the World’s first Robotic museum guides have been unveiled.
Japanese robotics expert, Hiroshi Ishiguro, has developed three robots, which will be operating at the Tokyo National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. Two of these robots are life-size, and are coated with silicon-based skin, and artificial muscles. These robots have extremely human-like aesthetics, and can only move their upper bodies, arms, fingers, and heads. The droids can also show a variety of facial expressions, while lip-syncing pre-recorded speech.
During a press event, both droids were introduced; Kodomoroid looks like an adolescent girl, and delivers information about the Tokyo earthquake. Kodomoroid is linked to the Internet, and thus always updated with the latest news. The other robot, Otonaroid (“otona” in Japanese means adult), looks like a woman, and can be controlled by visitors.
Accompanying the latter, is the third droid, Telenoid; which was first shown off in 2010. Unlike the others, this droid does not look human, and has basic human features. It will be used as a means of interaction for visitors.
These droid will work at the Museum, interacting with visitors, and provoking questions about what it means to be human. This experiment will be able to collect data for Ishiguro’s studies into human reactions to the machines, and will help in the development of robots in the near future.