Hiroshi Ishiguro. Robot is a man’s friend
On January 28 Hiroshi Ishiguro, one of the world’s foremost roboticists, gave a lecture at Digital October as part of the Knowledge Stream project. He has won the RoboCup prize for creating the best humanoid on four occasions. Synectics also named him one of the “Top 100 Living Geniuses” in 2007.
Hiroshi Ishiguro was born in 1964 and got into robotics in the 1990s. He received his PhD in 1991 from the Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University. He then worked in universities in Kyoto, California and Wakayama. He has also worked at the Department of Systems Innovation in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University since 2003, as well as managing a group of laboratories named after him at the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR).
Hiroshi started creating his “family” of robots by making an android replica of his 4-year old daughter, while in 2006, he unveiled a robotic double of himself, which he developed to replace him in the classroom. The android was called “Geminoid HI-1” (from the Latin word Gemini meaning “twins”). The android doesn’t just share the professor’s appearance, but also replicates his movements and mannerisms; it breathes, blinks, frowns and responds to touch. Hiroshi created the female “Geminoid F” in 2009. The female android was designed to be a secretary, while her career took off when she got a small roll in a production called “Sayonara” at a Tokyo theatre, the robot then worked as a live manikin at a Tokyo shopping mall. In 2011, the professor created a double of Danish Professor Henrik Scharfe.
The professor has also developed humanoid robots that look a bit like unpainted porcelain dolls, as well as their human-looking counterparts. Hiroshi believes that these faceless robots will help create more of a connection with people at the other end of the phone or over the internet. In his opinion, people can superimpose the image of a specific person onto the faceless robot. “Telenoid”, which was the size of a child, was launched in 2010, while “Elfoid”, which can fit in the palm of your hand, was release in 2011. The android family was then extended in 2012 with the introduction of “Hugvie”, which is a cross between a human and a pillow, and contained a mobile phone pocket. During a phone conversation, people must cuddle Hugvie, pressing their head to the robot’s, which moves depending on how fast the person talks. This robot is already on sale, costing around $50.
Hiroshi Ishiguro believes that people shouldn’t waste time on things that can be done by robots. Robots can replace teachers, tend to a garden and work in the entertainment business. In his lecture, Hiroshi told guests how robot technology will develop in the future and how quickly robots will get to grips with things traditionally associated with living creatures, such as emotions and interactions. One of his robots even has its own blog on Twitter...
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