The strange fascination of the Japanese for human robots

Android-ToshibaToshiba came to the attention of the media when these 2015 not for its technology to generate energy via hydrogen, its storage cards, or even its innovations on the market of e-health, but for a hostess rather out of the ordinary, an Android. Named Chihira Aico, this creature so stole the show on other innovations in Japanese industry. This robot of human appearance is one of the last examples of robots to human appearance to have been developed in Japan, a country where researchers appear to maintain a passion for these troubling bots.

‘Human’ Android, a specialty of Osaka University

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro and his Telenoid, unless it's his Geminoid that took his place for the picture.

Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro and his Telenoid, unless it’s his Geminoid that took his place for the picture.

It is the speciality of Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro at the head of Osaka University robotics research. Since the beginning of the 2000s, it creates robots like no other. His Geminoid, Otonaroid, Kodomoroid, Telenoid and Elfoid have a trait in common, or rather common traits. Aside from two last, devoid of members, they imitate in all respects human beings humans in their appearance and especially the way they communicate. The idea is that a human appearance robot will be able to communicate more easily with humans if it looks like them and if he can reproduce the facial expressions and all their gestures.

The star of Osaka University researcher has gone up to create a Geminoid has his effigy. If visually the illusion is perfect, see his androids to the artwork leaves an impression of unease. These fairly quickly betray their synthetic nature despite appearances.

However, it is well to communicate that Toshiba in turn follows this path. Developed with aLab Inc., Osaka University, the Institute of technology of Shibauraet that of Shonan, Android presented by Toshiba on these 2015 is a preview of a robot or rather a ‘lifelike communication android”which should be operational from 2020. It was unveiled for the first time a few months at the large Japanese show CEATEC JAPAN 2014.

Androids ready in 2020, for the Olympic Games

Toshiba Android

Toshiba unveiled for the first time its Android in October 2014 at the CEATEC JAPAN exhibition.

For the CES, Toshiba has named its Android Chihira Aico, probably to strengthen the human side of the ‘thing ‘. But in addition to this human appearance which conveyed the paw of Hiroshi Ishiguro, the robot is able to analyze the words of his interlocutor and is capable, by speech synthesis, to respond. Toshiba has developed the algorithm which synchronizes 43 motion axes that must make realistic movement of the body and the face of Android.

As announced at the CEATEC, Toshiba was able to present his robot then of these to animate his stand. When its technology is finalized, its “social robot” will play the role of téléconseiller, robots for assistance for the sick and elderly. 5 years of work will still be needed to achieve this goal, Hitoshi Tokukda, the “creator” of Chihira Aico believes that Android will be ready for the 2020 Olympic Games which will be held in Tokyo.

Translation : Bing Translator


Sources :


“The ‘human’ side of robots at electronics show”, JapanToday, Janvier 10, 2015

“Toshiba’s android Chihira Aico is ready to work and play”,, January 10, 2015

“Japanese professor creates uncanny human-like android robots”, NY Daily News, November 20, 2014

“Toshiba Corporation Develops Lifelike Communication Android”, Toshiba press release, October 6, 2014

“Human or Machine? Life-Like Android Robots from Japan Show Glimpses of the Future”, International Business Times, June 24, 2014

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