SCI-TECH: Japanese scientist unveil humanoid walking robot

(NECN/APTV) - Japanese scientists on Monday unveiled a new humanoid walking robot at Tsukuba City, in Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo.

HRP-4C, the latest model showcased to the media by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has a female face which can express various emotions.

Developers at the government-backed organization, said their "cybernetic human," wasn't ready to help with daily chores or work side by side with humans - as robotics has been billed to do in the future.

Japan has been leading the sphere of robotics technology, and the government is pushing to develop the industry as a road to growth.

Yet, scientists said it was a challenge to develop a robot which looks like human and moves like human.

At AIST, Japan's national body for the state of art technology, developers have been working on such integration for past three years.

Other robots, like the ones from Hiroshi Kobayashi at the Tokyo University of Science and Hiroshi Ishiguro at Osaka University, have human-like faces and have been tested as receptionists.

Demands are growing for socially useful robots, such as those for caring for the elderly and the sick, government officials said.

HRP-4C was designed to look like an average Japanese woman, although its silver-and-black body makes it appear to be wearing a space-suit.

The robotic framework for the HRP-4C without the face and other coverings will

go on sale for about 20 (m) million yen (200-thousand US dollars) each, and its programming technology will be made public so other people can come up with fun moves for the robot, the scientists said.

The robot shown Monday has 30 motors in its body that allows it to walk and move its arms as well as eight motors on its face to create expressions like anger and surprise.

In a demonstration for reporters, the robot waddled out, blinking, a bit like an animation figure come to life, and said, "Hello, everyone," in a tiny feminine voice while its mouth moved.

The big challenge in creating HRP-4C was making the parts small so it looks female, especially its thinner legs, said Shuji Kajita, who leads the institute's humanoid research group.

The robot will appear in a Tokyo fashion show, although without any clothes, in a special section just for the robot next week.

The following story and video is from APTV.

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