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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Robot of the Day: Geminoid-F, the Female Android Twin

Not too long ago, we talked about Geminoid, Dr. Ishiguro's "twin brother" robot in a previous post. That robot was built in 2006. Four years later in April 2010, Dr. Ishiguro unveiled his latest creation: a female andriod named Geminoid-F (F stands for female), built after an unnamed female model in her 20s (photo credit Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP), according to this article at IEEE Spectrum.

The female robot is really the product of joint effort among Osaka University, ATR Laboratory, and Kokoro Co., a small Japanese firm specializing in building androids. Compared to the old male model, this new, more advanced model have the following improvements:
  • It can exhibit facial expressions much more naturally.
  • It only has 12 actuators (male model had 50)
  • Air servo valves and the control system are not embedded into the robot's body, and there is only a small external compressor (male model had a large external box for compressors and valves.)
  • The tele-operation system is using facial recognition software, so the operator doesn't have to wear any sensor at all.

Similar to it's male predecessor, Geminoid-F cannot walk and only have limited movements with its arms and legs. Most of the actuators are located around the neck and face. The main purpose of the robot is for tele-presence where an operator would be sitting in front of a camera and the robot would mimic the person's facial expression and lip/neck movements. One possible application of the robot is to support remote companionship. Dr. Ishiguro plans to test the robot in hospitals.

With a price tag of US $110,000 per copy, such a robot might not be very attractive to consumers even for people who seriously long for a twin brother or sister. However, the research team at least accomplished two things:
  • advanced the technology of natural expression for a robot, and
  • generated ample interest from the public to pay more attention to robotics technology
That leaves me with only one question: Who is he going to duplicate next time?

Picture of the Day:

Adeline will have a dance recital tomorrow. But she just lost a tooth the first time ever in her life! So here I present you:

The pretty, little dancer with a tooth missing!


  1. Wow, that robot definitely sits in the uncanny valley for me! Though I can see its application for telepresence, I definitely wouldn't want one as a companion.

  2. Oh, and Adeline is soooo cute! Is she your daughter?

  3. Yes, Adeline is my 5-year old daughter.