Kokoro Co. Ltd. and Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro of ATR’s Intelligent Robotics & Communication Lab have unveiled a new version of the Geminoid, a realistic doppelganger android built to research human robot interaction. This one is called Geminoid-F (Female), modeled on a 20-something 3/4 Japanese woman. Its specialty is its ability to smile and laugh without making you want to vomit, but as usual it cannot stand up or walk.
The Geminoids are teleoperated using a combination of facial expression data gathered by cameras tracking the operator’s face, as well as sensors that are applied to the body. However, this time around the number of actuators has been drastically reduced from 50 to 12, which don’t require the usual large external box filled with air compressors. Kokoro Co. Ltd.’s previous animatronics work on realistic robots such as their Actroids and AIST’s HRP-4C has led to increased realism, matching or surpassing the work done by Hanson Robotics (creators of the Albert Einstein head).
Geminoid-F has been tested in hospitals, where patients assured the researchers that the robot’s smiling presence was reassuring, and it may take up residence as an animatronic receptionist in museums and other venues. With its reduced complexity also comes a lower price tag of 10 million JPY ($110,000 USD), compared to Kokoro’s Actroids which went on sale over New Years for $250,000 USD. You can learn more about Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro and his work with the Geminoids at IEEE Spectrum’s exhaustive article here.