News Column

Human-like androids to be used as museum presenters in Tokyo

June 24, 2014

Do androids dream of museum curation?

That's what two eerily human-like robots have been tasked with in Tokyo at Japan'sNational Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation. The robots will headline an exhibit called "Android: What is Human?" As headliners, they will not only be the focus point but also the presenters, guiding visitors through the exhibit.

The androids, which not only look human but sound it too -- able to interject humor and befuddlement mid-conversation -- will interact with visitors and to some extent be controlled by them.

"The exhibition will be a unique and rare event which will provide visitors with the opportunity to communicate with and operate android robots," museum curators explained in a press release.

The two robots -- an adult female, Otonaroid, and a girl robot called Kodomoroid -- are the latest from Japanese robotics expert Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro.

Kodomoroid even demonstrated her abilities as a news reader during the press preview, and told reporters her "dream" is to have her own TV show.

Such sophisticated androids won't be be confined to public spaces for long. Ishiguro noted that another robot called Pepper, developed by Softbank and touted as being able to read human emotions, will hit the marketplace in Japan next year for just $1,930, about the same price as a laptop computer.

For those unafraid of the coming technological singularity, the development is exciting.

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Source: UPI Science News

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