Scientist develops body-double robot

E Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka UniversityThe new 'Geminoid', an android resembling a real person was tele-operated - controlled remotely - by a person offstage. (Reuters)

A Japanese scientist has developed a body-double robot which resembles him closely, with tiny human-like movements and blinking eyes.

Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro, director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory at Osaka University, Japan,has been working on developing lifelike androids.

The new robot was unveiled at the Global Futures 2045 International Congress in New York, a futuristic conference focused on the technological singularity. The new 'Geminoid', an android resembling a real person was tele-operated - controlled remotely - by a person offstage.

Ishiguro has also developed another Geminoid, a fashionably dressed female android, which he has shown off in the windows of clothing stores, LiveScience reported. The robot was so popular that the clothing it was modelling sold out immediately, Ishiguro said. Ishiguro has also taken his robots on the road as part of a travelling "android theatre," where they act out scenes with human-like expressions.

The roboticist also made the "Telenoid," a pillow-like bot deliberately designed to appear ageless and genderless so thatpeople can project an imagined face onto its neutral appearance. Ishiguro has tested the Telenoid among the elderly in Denmark, who took to it very well, he said. Another of Ishiguro's inventions is the "Elfoid" – a smaller version of the Telenoid that functions as a mobile phone.

Today, everyone talks to the "little black boxes" of their smartphones, Ishiguro said, so he wanted to personalise and humanise the devices. At the end of Ishiguro's talk, his robotic double spoke up, saying that next time, it would give a much better presentation than the real Ishiguro.

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