Robot Girl, Scary More Ways Than One

One of the world’s newest and most sophisticated inventions was unveiled this week at Ceatec, a cutting edge IT and electronics exhibition in Japan.  Developed at Osaka University, the Repliee R-1 is being called the most realistic robot ever created.

Modeled after an average looking five-year-old Japanese girl, the Repliee R-1 is the latest Actoid, or humanoid robot created by the university.  An earlier version, Repliee Q-1, was an adult version released just a few years ago, has been criticized for having spasms or technical glitches.  But this one, supposedly an improved model, is similar to the last with flexible silicone skin, hair, and contains dozens of sensors and motors, allowing it to move and interact with its surroundings like a human.  Creators are hoping that it will help put people at ease to better interact with a robot.

Grant it, seeing what appears to many to be a doll, began to blink, speak and even breathe, it may be enough to help people interact with it, but at the same time it can also make people apprehensive. 

 Not for nothin’, but freaky looking or not, this technology is quite impressive.  We’ve seen the movies and television shows that feature humanoid robots, that they can actually replicate human activity to a degree that any human could, sometimes even better.  The Repliee R-1 the latest step in that direction.  Also in that direction is what we heard in an announcement on Tuesday by Japanese corperation, Cyberdyne (yes like the Terminator producing company, but an actual real company) that they will be mass producing their Hybrid Assistive Limb, or HAL for short.  HAL is a technology of a robotic exoskeleton that will enable disabled or paralyzed people get their function back.  It is to have said to be able to empower the wearer with strength of five to 10 times their normal ability. 

We can only wonder what we’ll see 20 years in the future.

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