Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro has unveiled his latest creation, and it's a far cry from the ultra-lifelike robot clones he has produced in the past. Meet Telenoid R1, designed to be a "minimalistic human." Or a nightmare baby. Take your pick.
Telenoid is a child-sized telepresence robot through which users can interact with others from a distance. Created in collaboration with Osaka University and Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR), Telenoid is a tool for investigating "the essential elements for representing and transferring humanlike presence," according to Ishiguro and his team.
As seen in the video below, Telenoid users can interact with people at a distance through a laptop. The control system tracks the user's face and head motion and captures his or her voice. The motions and voice are relayed to Telenoid, which expresses them while interacting.
The most striking feature of the robot is its design, which packs a high creep factor. It's meant to appear neither male nor female, young nor old. It has an abbreviated torso and arms, but can wiggle around to a limited extent while on its stand.
Compared with Ishiguro's Geminoid F and Geminoid telepresence robots, Telenoid has far fewer actuators--only nine DC actuators instead of dozens of pneumatic actuators--meaning it will cost much less to manufacture.
Osaka software firm Eager plans to start distributing Telenoid later this year. A research version will be priced around $35,000 and a commercial version about $8,000, according to IEEE Spectrum. … Read more