Japan Releases "Employed" Humanoid Robots

Designed to showcase the advancements made in robotics

In late June 2014, scientists at the Japan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation released two lifelike robots. These "humanoids" are part of the highly acclaimed exhibition, "Android: What is Human?" Touted as the most advanced human-like robots ever created, could these two innocent robots be the first of robotic armies highlighted in Hollywood Films?

Designed to showcase the advancements made in robotics, museum curator Hiroshi Ishiguro hopes the exhibition peaks the interest of the general public while simultaneously stretching the possibilities of robot-human interaction. The two robots, lovingly referred to as Kodomoroid and Otonariod, go beyond basic communication levels to create a realistic and intelligent interactions.

The "youngest" of the robots, Kodomoroid, has the appearance of a young child. However, this is where the resemblance ends. Designed to provide real-time news updates from around the world in a variety of languages, Kodomoroid is considered by some to be the strangest news reporter. In a recent "interview" with Kodomoroid, journalists were stunned to hear her dream is to be the host of her own television show. While the world may not be ready for robotic TV show hosts, the remarkable lifelike reactions and vocal range of Kodomoroid makes this dream seem closer to reality than science fiction.

The older of the humanoids, Otonaroid is among the first robots to be "hired" by an institution for more than experimentation purposes. Designed to appear as an adult female, this robot has the pleasure of interacting with visitors. Unlike previous robot-human interactions, Otonaroid operates itself through a complex web of algorithms. Museum visitors may ask her questions and receive detailed responses regarding science-related topics.

While this is impressive, it's the underlining details of these robots that truly mark a first in its industry. Both robots are advertised as being capable of interjecting humor and even confusion during conversations. What's next? Life insurance for robots?

Considering previous humanoid robots featured non-human appearances, these robots are eerily human-like. Realistic skin is supple and soft to the touch while synthetic muscle fibers create a foundation for hyper-realistic movements and facial expressions. Some visitors claim moments of forgetting these robots are not actually humans. In fact, with blinking eyes and pleasant facial expressions, it's not uncommon to begin empathizing with each robot.

The technology required to run these and similar humanoid robots is among the most complex and advanced out of any industry. Mimicking human emotions, and even the simple fluidity of human movement, has taken years of intense research to master. Even though these robots are among the most human-like, there are moments where their artificial intelligence is made clear.

With such advancements, advocacy groups worry this is a step toward robots taking over human duties and employment. While a legitimate concern, especially with the release of self-driving trucks in Germany, Tirias Research founder Jim McGregor suggests the true impact of humanoid robots are at least five decades away from reaching into the lives of everyday people.

Although the humanoid robotics industry has years of research and development ahead of itself to mimic the robots highlighted in Hollywood blockbusters, the release of Kodomoroid and Otonaroid is a giant leap toward a future seen between the covers of science fiction novels.

More Stories By Drew Hendricks

Drew Hendricks is a writer, as well as a tech, social media and environmental enthusiast, living in San Francisco. He is a contributing writer at Forbes, Technorati and The Huffington Post.

Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and micro services. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your contain...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Information technology (IT) advances are transforming the way we innovate in business, thereby disrupting the old guard and their predictable status-quo. It’s creating global market turbulence. Industries are converging, and new opportunities and threats are emerging, like never before. So, how are savvy chief information officers (CIOs) leading this transition? Back in 2015, the IBM Institute for Business Value conducted a market study that included the findings from over 1,800 CIO interviews ...
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
Niagara Networks exhibited at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which took place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, in November 2016. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Apache Hadoop is emerging as a distributed platform for handling large and fast incoming streams of data. Predictive maintenance, supply chain optimization, and Internet-of-Things analysis are examples where Hadoop provides the scalable storage, processing, and analytics platform to gain meaningful insights from granular data that is typically only valuable from a large-scale, aggregate view. One architecture useful for capturing and analyzing streaming data is the Lambda Architecture, represent...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...