The Robot "Miim" —Modeled on a Japanese Woman
Humanoid robots—robots that look like human beings—are just one of many types of high-tech robots that are rapidly changing the world we live in today. Japan leads the world in developing industrial robots that work in factories and lifestyle support robots that help disabled and elderly people in their daily lives. Japan is also playing a leading role in the development of humanoid robots. This work fulfills two important roles. One is advancing new technology. Creating robots that can walk on two legs like human beings is an extremely difficult challenge. If scientists succeed, their results should have knock-on effects across a wide range of advanced technologies. The other area in which humanoid robots are expected to have a big impact is entertainment. If scientists succeed in creating robots that look and move like humans, these new robots will be useful in lots of different ways. They might "work" as promotion models, for example, dancing in the latest styles at fashion exhibitions.
Miim was "born" in 2009. She is the world's first bipedal humanoid robot ("bipedal" means an animal or robot that walks on two feet) in the shape and size of a grown-up woman. Her name comes from an abbreviation meaning "future dream" in Japanese. Miim stands 158 centimeters tall and looks just like a real woman. She was created using detailed data of the average measurements of a young Japanese woman. At 46 kilograms, she is quite light compared to other humanoid robots. She uses the motor and battery system in her body to move like a human being. The waist is the most important of the 44 joints that Miim has in her body. In the past, one of the problems with humanoid robots has been that they could not move their waists freely. Humans move their hips forward and backward as well as to the left and right thanks to their flexible waists. Miim can move her hips freely, making her appear much more realistic and humanlike when she walks.