These three combo photos show a 'cybernetic human' HRP-4C, designed to look like an average Japanese woman, creating expressions like anger, left, and surprise, right, during a demonstration in Tsukuba, near Tokyo, Monday, March 16, 2009. The humanoid robot having a female face and black hair trimmed down to 43 kilograms (95 pounds) to make a debut at a fashion show later in the month.
A new walking, talking robot from Japan has a female face that can smile and has trimmed down to 43 kilograms (95 pounds) to make a debut at a fashion show. But it still hasn't cleared safety standards required to share the catwalk with human models.
Developers at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, a government-backed organization, said their "cybernetic human," shown Monday, wasn't ready to help with daily chores or work side by side with people — as many hope robots will be able to do in the future.
"Technologically, it hasn't reached that level," said Hirohisa Hirukawa, one of the robot's developers. "Even as a fashion model, people in the industry told us she was short and had a rather ordinary figure."
For now, the 158 centimeter (62.2 inch) tall black-haired robot code-named HRP-4C — whose predecessor had weighed 58 kilograms (128 pounds) — will mainly serve to draw and entertain crowds.
Developers said the robot may be used in amusement parks or to perform simulations of human movement, as an exercise instructor, for instance.
HRP-4C was designed to look like an average Japanese woman, although its silver-and-black body recalls a space suit. It will appear in a Tokyo fashion show — without any clothes — in a special section just for the robot next week.
The robotic framework for the HRP-4C, without the face and other coverings, will go on sale for about 20 million yen ($200,000) each, and its programming technology will be made public so other people can come up with fun moves for the robot, the scientists said.
Japan boasts one of the leading robotics industries in the world, and the government is pushing to develop the industry as a road to growth.