Actroid is a type of android (humanoid robot) with strong visual human-likeness
Actroid is a type of android (humanoid robot) with strong visual human-likeness developed by Osaka University and manufactured by Kokoro Company Ltd. (the animatronics division of Sanrio). It was first unveiled at the 2003 International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo, Japan. Several different versions of the product have been produced since then. In most cases, the robot’s appearance has been modeled after an average young woman of Japanese descent.
The Actroid woman is a pioneer example of a real machine similar to imagined machines called by the science fiction terms android or gynoid, so far used only for fictional robots. It can mimic such lifelike functions as blinking, speaking, and breathing. The “Repliee” models are interactive robots with the ability to recognize and process speech and respond in kind.
The original Repliee Q1 had a “sister” model, Repliee R1, which is modeled after a 5-year-old Japanese girl.
More advanced models were present at Expo 2005 in Aichi to help direct people to specific locations and events. Four unique faces were given to these robots. The ReplieeQ1-expo was modeled after a presenter for NHK news. To make the face of the Repliee Q2 model, the faces of several young Japanese women were scanned and the images combined into an average composite face.
The newer model Actroid-DER2 made a recent tour of U.S. cities. At NextFest 2006, the robot spoke English and was displayed in a standing position and dressed in a black vinyl bodysuit. A different Actroid-DER2 was also shown in Japan around the same time. This new robot has more realistic features and movements than its predecessor.
In July 2006, another appearance was given to the robot. This model was built to look like its male co-creator, roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro, and named Geminoid HI-1. Controlled by a motion-capture interface, Geminoid HI-1 can imitate Ishiguro’s body and facial movements, and it can reproduce his voice in sync with his motion and posture. Ishiguro hopes to develop the robot’s human-like presence to such a degree that he could use it to teach classes remotely, lecturing from home while the Geminoid interacts with his classes at Osaka University.
In May 2011 a Danish Lector, Henrik Schärfe, revealed a robotic version of himself. Manufactured in Japan and called a Geminoid-DK, its actions are controlled remotely by a person operating a computer, but it is programmed with Schärfe’s own unique body movements, such as shrugs and glances.