Facial expressions just like those of a human
Geminoid F (left) and the woman she was modeled on © Kyodo News
For a humanoid robot with advanced features to play an active part in future society, it will need to function with natural, human-like expressions and movements; so that the people it encounters are not uncomfortable, and do not feel surprised.
Geminoid F is an android developed by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University in order to study humanistic facial expressions and gestures. She is modeled on a woman in her 20s. The whole body was measured in 3D using laser beams and a computer, while the face was carefully shaped using plaster.
Although she cannot walk or move her arms by herself etc., a camera captures the facial movements of her operator and reproduces them on her face. She has skin made of soft silicon and seems to really have feelings as she smiles, or looks shy or perplexed. Her shoulders and chest move like she is breathing, making her like a real human being.
|Internal skeleton of Geminoid F. A precision device is embedded in the head to reproduce facial expressions. Photo: Osaka University.||
Geminoid F (left) taking part in a play. She looks just like a real actress, as she blinks and moves her mouth animatedly in sync with her lines. © Kyodo News
Research to make her appear more human is being conducted by staging theatrical plays starring Geminoid F. She converses with feeling just like an actress, and stage shows where she is seen reading poetry are very popular, even reverberating abroad in countries such as France and Thailand.
Robots for Dental Practice
Students practice the tense sensations of the real situation using a humanoid robot
Robots that react just like humans are also useful in the medical sector. Simroid is a robot developed jointly by The Nippon Dental University and robot manufacturers. It allows dental treatment to be practiced so that tooth decay can be fixed gently and real patients can experience as little hardship and pain as possible.
If you tell Simroid "Open wide" or "Turn a bit more to the right", it will move as you direct, but not unless you ask in a clear voice that is easily audible. As with human patients, over time its jaw becomes tired, its mouth starts to close, and it moves its neck.
Using Simroid ® to practice treatment. If you scrape her teeth too much, she complains of pain by raising her left hand, or saying "That hurts."
By repeatedly practicing on this robot, students training to be dentists are able to learn how to deliver precise treatment methods in the minimum amount of time; and how to adopt an attitude and manner of speech to reassure their patients.
These robots are not yet perfected. But maybe in future, as engineers continue to amass the results of their research, we might one day see a society where humans and robots live together.