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Slideshow: Tokyo Museum Features Eerily Human Robot Guides

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Daniyal_Ali
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Rise of the Machines.
Daniyal_Ali   6/27/2014 6:39:19 AM
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I was recently looking at a high-definition picture of an Otonaroid, and it looked so real. I couldn't tell if it was a person or a robot. Full marks to the designing team for coming up with such an advancement that looks just like humans. Seeing the rate of progression in the artificial intelligence as well as the physical design of the robots, it's only a matter of time before the humans and humanoids will be so much mixed up that it would be hard to tell the difference.

78RPM
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Re: Rise of the Machines.
78RPM   6/27/2014 12:41:47 PM
Yikes! Our future just passed.

Charles Murray
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Re: Rise of the Machines.
Charles Murray   6/27/2014 4:59:04 PM
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You're right, Liz, the Japanese are comnfortable with humanoid robots. I find the Geminoid HI-02 robot to be so real that it's a little scary.

Pubudu
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Re: Rise of the Machines.
Pubudu   6/29/2014 1:19:25 PM
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True Charles it's almost same like human No one can identify different in normal sit easily.
Near future there will be a unborn faces in action with all the beauty in one face.

far911
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Re: Rise of the Machines.
far911   6/29/2014 9:20:32 PM
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Yes you are right.

shehan
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Re: Rise of the Machines.
shehan   6/30/2014 10:49:13 PM
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@Paubudu – yes very soon we won't be able to identify if an individual is a human or a robot. 

shehan
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Re: Rise of the Machines.
shehan   6/30/2014 10:34:49 PM
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@Charles- why do you think Geminoid  is scary?

Elizabeth M
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Re: Rise of the Machines.
Elizabeth M   7/1/2014 5:05:10 AM
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Yeah, Chuck, it's funny, I wonder what it is about the Japanese culture that makes them less suspectible to the uncanny valley syndrome than the rest of us. I wonder if it's the same characteristic associated with things like anime and Godzilla films. ;) Either way, Japan certainly is an early adopter of human-robot interaction and will likely be one of the first countries to really test the boundary between humanoids and humans.

Charles Murray
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Re: Rise of the Machines.
Charles Murray   7/1/2014 6:36:08 PM
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It's unclear how the U.S. is going to deal with that "uncanny valley" issue, Liz. A company called Marilyn Monrobot Labs is trying to add a sense of humor to robots, but I haven't heard much about it since we wrote about it in 2012.

http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=230720

Elizabeth M
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Re: Rise of the Machines.
Elizabeth M   7/2/2014 4:26:48 AM
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Yes, here in the U.S. we seem a bit more hesitant about interacting with robots. I'm sure that will eventually change, but people are a bit less comfortable with technology like this. Humor could work!


William K.
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Re: Rise of the Machines. Robot humor?
William K.   7/5/2014 5:51:14 PM
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Charles, What a great idea, which is a robot commedian. Instead of a ventriliquist dummy. I can see all kinds of places and areas for humor. Both a real robot and a fake robot commedian could be really good for the laughs. An excellent gimmick. Thanks for the inspiration.

shehan
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Re: Rise of the Machines.
shehan   6/30/2014 10:33:29 PM
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@Daniyal – yes these HD pictures looks really like human. The most important part is the human like emotions. 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Rise of the Machines.
Elizabeth M   7/1/2014 5:01:46 AM
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Yes, Daniyal, these robots are incredibly lifelike. It would be interesting to see and experience one up close and personal to see how really human they move and behave to see if the pictures do them justice. I don't want to think about a world in which humans and robots will be confused with each other, but I'm sure you're right and it's not so far off!

Charles Murray
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Humanoid Robots Get Real
Charles Murray   6/27/2014 5:04:27 PM
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In 2011, we did a slideshow of humanoid robots. Check out Slide 5 of that slideshow. It's another example of a robot that looks eerily human.

http://www.designnews.com/document.asp?doc_id=233766

 

NadineJ
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
NadineJ   6/27/2014 11:28:11 PM
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Thanks for the blast from the past Charles. Looking at the two slide shows really helps us see how far things have come along in a short time.

Pubudu
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
Pubudu   6/29/2014 1:27:01 PM
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Very true NadineJ this will show the interest and passion that they have for the subject and the potential of growing in the future. 

a.saji
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
a.saji   6/30/2014 7:28:36 AM
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Japan is a country that has very few natural resources Yet it is one of the pioneering countries in technology and scientific research. I recently heard in the radio that the Japanese are planning to build a research facility in Antarctica and that this will be their fourth research facility down there. Their aim is to understand how gasses trapped within icebergs could change the climate of the world if they are released into the atmosphere.

a2
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
a2   6/30/2014 12:29:41 PM
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We can't forget that the US and some other major countries extended Japan a hand of friendship after the Second World War. This played a key role in Japan's technological advancement.

far911
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
far911   6/30/2014 9:42:31 PM
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Japan is a country which doesnt have there own army, so they have a lot of time  and money to spend on development work, thats why they are pioneering in many technological things, i assume.

NadineJ
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
NadineJ   6/30/2014 10:49:24 PM
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@far911 - I think what you read may have been old or inaccurate.  Japan has a Self Defense Force (army).  But, to your point, they focus more on technology to enhance life.  They only spend about 1% of GDP (approxiamtely US$70billion) on the military.

shehan
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
shehan   6/30/2014 10:57:04 PM
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@NadineJ- It's nice to see only 1% of their GDP allocated for military. Which means the rest of it is allocated for development of the country. 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
Elizabeth M   7/1/2014 7:13:17 AM
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That's really interesting, far911, I didn't know that about a lack of army in Japan. That could explain why they create such fine technology and are ahead in some areas of technology than other parts of the world. The U.S., for example, does spend an awful lot of time and money on military investments. Then again, some of our most interesting technology comes out of the military as well. But you make a really good point.

far911
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
far911   7/4/2014 8:21:25 AM
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Elizabeth. Well some one corrected me on this that they have military. But very limited. Almost negligible. But if u study Japan now they are more interested in creating technology and refer to other countries for manufacturing in every field. For example Toyota. Honda . Mitsubshi . Suzuki etc. They have set up factories in different parts of the world and Japan only provide system and technology to them.

shehan
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
shehan   6/30/2014 10:55:34 PM
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@a.saji – yes Japan is a country with very less natural resources, but they are very efficient with technological innovations.

a.saji
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
a.saji   6/30/2014 7:17:02 AM
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It is good that we are advancing and taking new steps but when should we draw the line and say, "stop, we shouldn't creat robots to do that. we should do it ourselves."

Pubudu
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
Pubudu   6/30/2014 2:12:37 PM
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Greatly yes a.saji, we should have a clear rules and the guide line when developing robot, otherwise robots will take over the future, 

shehan
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
shehan   6/30/2014 10:39:50 PM
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@NadineJ – Yes it's happy to see that we have gone this far with robotics. Initially we saw units that were really scary. 

far911
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
far911   6/27/2014 11:44:58 PM
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Seriously looking at both the shows , intimates how rapidly we are progressing.

cadcoke5
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
cadcoke5   6/28/2014 6:49:58 AM
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The videos I have see have not impressed me.  Physically, they seem about as life-like as Disney's animatronic figures from the late 60's.  I know some of the Disney rides have less advanced figures, but some did reach to a higher level.

a.saji
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
a.saji   6/30/2014 7:21:05 AM
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Neither me. I wasn't impressed with what the robots were able to do. I admit that a lot of hard-work and cutting edge technology has gone behind these projects but the robots can only perform very rudimentary things.

a.saji
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
a.saji   6/30/2014 7:19:14 AM
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Why is Japan pioneering the development and use o robots? Why don't the other countries take a similar approach and invest in research and technology so that they can come to the forefront of robot technology.

rickgtoc
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
rickgtoc   6/30/2014 1:26:32 PM
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According to the story I heard this past week, Japan is contemplating using robots to cope with the aging of its population. A higher proportion of elderly folks means more care required and fewer young peope to care for them - along with a culture where the old apparently don't want to be a burden on the young.  The story stated that the Japanese would be more comfortable with robot/mechanical/android assistants than with humans for helping them take care of the needs of daily living.  Not exactly the story I heard on the radio, but take a look at this from the BBC:  http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-24949081. 

NadineJ
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
NadineJ   6/30/2014 2:42:59 PM
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rickgtoc - that was first noticed when the Furby launched in the late 1990's.  Since then, various pets and helpers have been developed in Japan to help seniors.

It's not that the old don't want to burden the young. Culturally, the children take care of their parents, even after death. Like most countries today, the majority of the population is older and aging. It's difficult for young people who are unemployed or have moved for opportunities to take care of their parents.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
Elizabeth M   7/1/2014 6:19:21 AM
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These are very good questions, a.saji. I don't have immediate answers but I'm sure there are a number of factors. Perhaps our reader experts can weigh in.

shehan
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
shehan   6/30/2014 10:41:10 PM
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@far911- I think this is because many research companies are working on robotics. 

Daniyal_Ali
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
Daniyal_Ali   6/28/2014 12:03:55 PM
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Thanks Charles. I guess i missed it earlier when it was posted. Anyhow it is quite impressive. Now i wonder that if he had this much detail in 2011, we should have robots walking among us by now.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
Nancy Golden   6/28/2014 3:36:59 PM
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Those are definitely out of my comfort zone. Data on Star Trek I can handle, but I would rather see these as robotic rather than human. We have been talking a lot about robotic dogs (my husband thinks they would be ideal - no shedding and no eating or tearing things up) but there is no way I would ever consider one - my German Shepherd provides not only physical protection but interacts with me on an emotional level that even if can be emulated by a robotic dog - would never be a satisfying substitution.

a.saji
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
a.saji   6/30/2014 7:25:04 AM
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I agree. As a dog owner myself, you can never replace a real dog with a robot. True, robots are less maintenance and more capable but taking care of your dog and treating it while its sick and playing with it and taking it for walks can be really satisfying at times.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
Nancy Golden   6/30/2014 10:23:54 AM
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@a.saji

My husband would argue that your words, taking care of your dog and treating it while its sick and playing with it and taking it for walks are all tasks you can do with a robotic dog. Even treating it while it is sick - you can do repair and maintenance on a robotic dog. You can program it to play and go for walks. What is truly missing is the "life" of a living creature and ultimately: love - ever since my German Shepherd was a pup I have always noticed he has what I call "old" eyes - they have depth and wisdom to them that a robot could never emulate and he responds to me on an emotional level with unconditional love that also cannot be emulated by a robot. Some people may be satisfied with programmed emotions but real love between living creatures can never be programmed.

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   7/1/2014 3:11:45 PM
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Nancy, I agree with you 100% on all levels, except that I've learned to never say "never".  I am continuously amazed at the breakthroughs ,,,,

Nancy Golden
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
Nancy Golden   7/1/2014 6:47:11 PM
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Jim - John 15:13 tells us that "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." Robots don't have a life to lay down regardless of how well they are programmed. They cannot love. In this case I will stick with "never."

JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   7/1/2014 11:10:01 PM
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Thanks, Nancy -- I do appreciate the scripture reference.

Nancy Golden
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
Nancy Golden   7/1/2014 11:30:23 PM
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You are welcome, Jim - and thanks for your comment.

Numbers 6:24-26





JimT@Future-Product-Innovations
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
JimT@Future-Product-Innovations   7/1/2014 11:42:41 PM
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And that's the weekly benediction, recited as we adjourn. Thanks.

William K.
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
William K.   7/5/2014 5:56:11 PM
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Really, robots could wind up doing the same sort of things that heros have done, and it would be a benefit to all of us. But if some idiot is able to make robots self-aware, then suddenly we will have the worst collection of cowards ever imagined. The main difference right now is that a robot can be repaired no matter how damaged it becomes, almost. Thus it has no real need of fear, which is supposed to help protect us. 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
Elizabeth M   7/7/2014 5:13:17 AM
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I like how you put your comment, William K. It's true--we need robots because they don't have truly human qualities and thus our limitations. If someone decides to make them too human, it defeats the purpose.

a2
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
a2   6/30/2014 12:30:41 PM
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I've never been much of a pet person because sometimes dogs and other pets can be a real headache at times.

shehan
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
shehan   6/30/2014 10:45:16 PM
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@Nancy – Bringing AI to the picture I am sure these robots will support us emotionally. I am not sure if it could bring the love and friendly component. 

a.saji
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
a.saji   6/30/2014 7:23:01 AM
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I read in another article that creating robots that can walk is a very easy task compared to making robots that can run. When you run, both your legs at one point is above the ground and then you keep one leg on the ground and balance your whole body weight through that leg. This feat hasn't been achieved yet it seems.

a2
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
a2   6/30/2014 12:26:36 PM
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This technology is being tested by Honda automobiles and I don't think it will take a long time for them to come up with something groundbreaking.

far911
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
far911   6/30/2014 9:43:38 PM
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I read it somewhere too.

shehan
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
shehan   6/30/2014 10:30:59 PM
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Wow finally we see near human robots being practically used. 

shehan
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
shehan   6/30/2014 11:00:23 PM
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@a2 – Humanoid robots are the future of technology, I'm sure Honda would do a massive change with their experience and technology.  

shehan
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
shehan   6/30/2014 10:54:06 PM
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@a.saji –as you said it's difficult to create a robot that needs to stand and balance itself. 

shehan
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
shehan   6/30/2014 10:42:29 PM
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@Daniyal – Do you mean to say that we are far behind the schedule? 

shehan
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
shehan   6/30/2014 10:37:30 PM
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@Charles – Thanks for sharing the slides these pictures look more artificial that the ones at the museum. 

Elizabeth M
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Re: Humanoid Robots Get Real
Elizabeth M   7/1/2014 6:04:27 AM
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I'll take a look at that, Chuck, thanks. Just saw Nadine's comment, so I imagine there is quite a difference between then and now.

bobjengr
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HUMAN ROBOT GUIDES
bobjengr   6/29/2014 11:32:19 AM
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Very interesting Elizabeth.   These robotic systems are a little spooky--too life-like for me.  You are certainly correct in that the Japanese have experimented and developed these systems to be much more in line with human features than any other country.  They really have the upper hand here.  I think this is a fascinating direction they have chosen with the technology and I would hope have specific goals in mind; i.e. replacing humans when and where possible.  Excellent post. 

tfcsd
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Tokyo Museum Features Eerily Human Robot Guides. Waste of Money and More
tfcsd   6/30/2014 3:03:46 PM
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Making robots appear to be human beyond their practical operation is, IMHO, a waste of money and complicates things both engineering and emotionally. For example, the car replaced the horse and horse and carriage, yet we do not put fake horse heads and wagon wheels on our cars to mimic past organic systems of transportation. A car looks like its function and looks like a machine. This is cheaper, does not look silly, and does not add complexity to a system. Adding "human" features to a robot will more likely backfire as we humans will still know it is not human and thus still treat it as a machine. This could also cause humans to lapse into a less compassionate feeling to those humans who are not perfect (i.e. handicapped) like perfect looking robots (I do not think someone is going to deliberately make an ugly robot so we can feel better (i.e. Harrison Bergeron)). Then all that fluffy human emotion stuff will add complexity and this could result in "glitches" in operation (i.e. Asimov). Just recently I was at a thrift store and as I walked by a row of bins, I heard a real meow and purr from the pile moving around. I did a double take and saw it was an animatronic cat with long dirty matted hair. Being a cat owner, it was immediately tempting to replace my squishy unthinking fuzz balls with this unthinking plastic fuzz ball and save on the feeding and cat box. Then I looked at the thing for a while and I felt it was a little weird having a rummage-sale fake cat just sitting around that was nothing more than a glorified motion sensor. As robots become more "human" things might end up being like the movie "A.I" where used robots were creepy.

William K.
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Why they do it in Japan.
William K.   7/8/2014 4:51:30 PM
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One more reason for a greater proliferation of humanoid robots in Japan is their cukllture, which places a whole lot more importance on being just like everybody else. Robots are certainly conformists in their own kind, including the programming. So they would tend to fit right in.

Conformity is not so very highly valued in the USA, at least not by a lot of folks, so robots and people who act and think like robots are less acceptable.

I find that comforting.

Elizabeth M
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Re: Why they do it in Japan.
Elizabeth M   7/9/2014 8:04:26 AM
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That's an interesting concept, William K., and perhaps you're right about Japan's concept of conformity. But to be honest, I don't find that people in the U.S. are particularly non conformist. I think conformity is also a big part of American culture. Grow up, go to school, get a job, get married, buy a house, have kids, etc. etc. There is a path people in the U.S. are meant to follow and many still follow this path. So I think conformity still exists in the U.S., too.

Charles Murray
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Re: Why they do it in Japan.
Charles Murray   7/9/2014 6:35:00 PM
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Interesting insight, William K. In a comment elsewhere on our site today, I mentioned that Joseph Engelberger, the legendary American roboticist, was more recognized in Japan than in the U.S. He even won the Japan Prize, Japan's highest technical honor, even though he was virtually anonymous here. Maybe your comment provides a little insight as to why that is.

William K.
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Re: Why they do it in Japan.
William K.   7/9/2014 9:47:05 PM
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We already know, and fully recognize the fact that different cultures react to a lot of things in ways different than we do here in the USofA. Business folks had to learn some,of it the very hard way, but now you can buy books that claim to set one on the correct path to be accepted for business deals.

My own first experience with different cultures as a business challenge came in dealing with a Korean company located in northern Canada. I quoted a testing machine for them, along with a quite detailed proposal of exactly what would be delivered. They responded with a purchase order, and then let me know that we would be negotiating how it would be done. Most folks do that prior to issuing a PO, instead of after the contract is signed.

BUt they really did love the machine, they ran it constantly for five years and wore it out. They sent it back to be rebuilt and also purchased  a second one built just like the original. I was quite flattered at that. 

 

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