Those who thought they’ve seen it all in terms of lifelike robots should think again. A conference just took place in Tokyo and was moderated by no other than two androids called Kodomoroid and Otonaroid. The couple announced a new pair of tabletop droids designed by Osaka-based organization, Vstone together with a few other partners.
The new comers, Sota and CommU, each around 30cm tall, started a conversation with their full-sized partners at the Miraikan tech museum in front of dazzled reporters. The little droids are only able to move their arms and abdominal areas but talked in charming Japanese similar to a little child’s speech. CommU, which resembles a child told Otonaroid, a hyper-lifelike robot lady:
“We’re good at natural dialog and that’s tough to do.”
Their interaction looked like a cyber-mother and tyke conversation recalling of both the exact “replicant” androids and the toys in the 1982 sci-fi movie “Blade Runner.” Kodomoroid and Otonaroid have been a part of the museums’ the exhibition hall since the previous summer, giving info to guests, and are not available for purchase.
Sota (acronym for “Social Talker”), on the other hand, may be retailed around April for under ¥100,000 ($852), as per Vstone. Created together with Osaka University and the Japan Science and Technology Agency’s Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology (ERATO) program, the lovely Sota is enabled by an Intel Edison single-board machine with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection, and communicates by means of voice, arms and LEDs placed in its mouth and eyes. It additionally has a cam, speaker and amplifier.
The child-like CommU, still in the study, is more refined, with closing eyelids and 14 types of movement as contrasted to Sota’s eight. CommU works with a Raspberry Pi Model B+ single-board machine with HDMI and USB ports.
In an ad video presented by the androids, Sota and CommU were seen greeting a lady when she came home, and also doing small talk about the weather and rehearsing English. The video feature was to some extent powerful as Japan is battling with a declining and maturing populace because of its low birthrate.
At the end of the conference one of the robots’ human engineers clarified the venture’s objectives. Osaka University roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro, whose robotic offsprings include android renditions of himself and his daughter as well as Kodomoroid and Otonaroid declared:
“The purpose of ERATO is to develop a fully autonomous interactive robot, and this is just the first stage. Precise voice recognition is difficult in robots but by watching the interaction between two robots, we can have a very realistic feeling of conversation.”
The designers have submitted a patent request based on their knowledge into how to make robot discussion sound genuine, including the timing of inquiries and answers. The news meeting had scripted dialogs and there were human administrators remotely controlling the full-sized androids. However, Sota will have voice and picture recognition capacities and can be stacked with different applications. Sota could be employed to help sell hardware and different tech items, as per Ishiguro.
This is also the approach of mobile company Softbank with its humanoid robot Pepper. The robot was issued to aid sell Nestle coffee machines in Japan. Pepper will be available for purchase in Japan this year and is priced at about ¥200,000.
Image Source: CIO