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Man Builds Robot Version of Himself
Status: Weird News
image Wired has an interesting article about Hiroshi Ishiguro, a Japanese researcher who has built a remote-control robotic version of himself:
Ishiguro's silicone-and-steel doppelgänger was made from casts taken from his own body. Powered by pressurized air and small actuators, it runs on semiautonomous motion programs. It blinks and fidgets in its seat, moving its foot up and down restlessly, its shoulders rising gently as though it were breathing. These micromovements are so convincing that it's hard to believe this is a machine -- it seems more like a man wearing a rubber mask. But a living, breathing man.
Ishiguro says that he built the robot so that he could "robot in" to his classes instead of having to endure a long commute. During college I actually had a recurring fantasy about doing exactly this, since I would routinely oversleep and miss classes. So I imagine in the future, if Ishiguro's idea becomes popular, there could be entire classes filled entirely with remote-control robots. Though if everyone in the classroom were a robot, it would kind of defeat the purpose. You might as well just have a tele-conference. (Thanks, Kathy!)
Categories: Technology
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jul 21, 2006
That's too freaky, I don't think I'd want a robot as a professor. I thought Japan had a real fast Bullet train: couldn't he have take than?
Posted by Jenny  in  Wisconsin  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  08:24 PM
That is a little creepy. But what I'm curious about is, if he could make it have all the movements to make it look like it can twitch and whatnot, why does it look like it has a "rubber mask" on?
Posted by Archibold  on  Fri Jul 21, 2006  at  11:05 PM
"... why does it look like it has a "rubber mask" on?"

He probably couldn't afford real human skin.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Arlington Heights, Illinois  on  Sat Jul 22, 2006  at  09:47 AM
Well what I meant was, if he could make every other part of it look realistic, I would think he would be able to make the face look a little more realistic. I would think if he could make it appear as if it was breathing, he would be able to make it look as if it wasn't wearing a rubber mask.
Posted by Archibold  on  Sat Jul 22, 2006  at  01:16 PM
To answer Archibold's question, the human face is a lot more complicated to emulate than larger body movements, more expensive too.
It'd take dozens of tiny solenoids and actuators to faithfully mimic every facial movement.

Here's some videos from the site that show "robo-profesor" in action. Doesn't really look that realistic to me though:

http://robot.watch.impress.co.jp/static/2006/07/21/atr0642.wmv
http://robot.watch.impress.co.jp/static/2006/07/21/atr0682.wmv
http://robot.watch.impress.co.jp/static/2006/07/21/atr0708.wmv
http://robot.watch.impress.co.jp/static/2006/07/21/atr0647.wmv
http://robot.watch.impress.co.jp/static/2006/07/21/atr0723.wmv
Posted by Captain DaFt  on  Sat Jul 22, 2006  at  03:17 PM
That's really creepy, looks like a guy who's in the last stages of death by brain cancer.
Posted by Citizen Premier  in  spite of public outcry  on  Sun Jul 23, 2006  at  01:42 AM
I think we have a case of uncanny valley ( http://www.wordspy.com/words/uncannyvalley.asp for those of you who haven't heard the term.)

Personally I like my robots a little more... robot looking. Gimme a Rosie the Robot anyway.
Posted by Winona  in  USA  on  Sun Jul 23, 2006  at  03:13 AM
er, any *day
Posted by Winona  in  USA  on  Sun Jul 23, 2006  at  03:13 AM
Yeah he looks a little stiff, maybe he should have hooked up with those guys at Real Doll.
Posted by Lonewatchman  on  Sun Jul 23, 2006  at  06:21 AM
I woke up with a doppelganger this morning as matter of fact. Happens now and then. Coulda hung yer hat on this one, though. I shoulda taken photos, but I dinna
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sun Jul 23, 2006  at  03:37 PM
That is A.W.E.S.O.M.O
Posted by Grain  in  Bay Area, CA  on  Mon Jul 24, 2006  at  04:39 PM
I saw that over on nxtbot.com.
Posted by Ian  on  Fri Jul 28, 2006  at  07:41 PM
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