Saturday, November 13, 2010

Japanese robot actress

Here's a video of a Japanese robot actress that plays the part of a caregiver to a sick patient. I was in Japan in 1996 to attend the IROS robotics conference in Osaka. I had a chance to tour the robotics labs in Tokyo University. Many of the student projects involved creating humanoid robots, the idea being that the robots would be more readily accepted by their human owners if they appeared to be human. The robots were not very sophisticated at that time.

As the population of Japan grows older due to its declining birth rate, there is apparently an effort in Japan to create a variety of robots that can perform ordinary housekeeping tasks. The play mentioned in the clip is significant for addressing the not-unrealistic scenario that robots will soon become caregivers in Japanese homes.

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