Meet Our New Japanese Human Like Android Robot Here In Japan
Japan loves robots! I feel proud to announce that a new human like robot has now been released here in Japan. A so called Android robot which looks like a real human with skin and all. Another word for this Japanese robot technology is humanoid.
In case you are one of those who prefer more pure mechanical type of Japanese robots which do not look like humans, then you got the video above to enjoy about our newest super cool Kuratas robot in Japan. Yes, you actually climb inside it and take a ride!
If that’s not cool enough then I don’t know what impresses you? : ) Well, I got some more for you further down. Keep reading.
First time I personally met such Japanese human robot was back in early 2009 when I visited Miraikan in Tokyo city. Though back then it was a standing up arm waving and talking female robot. Actually quite pretty at first sight, but creepy at a more close distance.
This time the new robot clone is a male. Not just any male, but a visual double of a living Japanese celebrity. A clone of a human, but in form of an Android robot. A so called human like Japanese robot.
Japanese Humanoid Robot Instead Of A Celebrity Statue
People around the world like to make statues of their famous citizens so that future generations can imagine how the celebrity once upon time looked like. Over here in Japan such a person can now become a cloned robot which interacts with its human audience.
That is was just happened. Let me present you the Rakugo robot. A human like clone of the famous Japanese comic storyteller named Beicho Katsura III (yes, he is number three in succession order). A honorific story teller ninja of the old generation.
In the photo above you can see the humanoid robot clone to the left and the real human on your right. He is a senior citizen now, but the robot clone shows how he looked like when he was younger and in the highlight of his Rakugo career.
Rakugo Robot Telling Stories By Changing Its Human Like Voice
Rakugo what?! Rakugo (written as ?? in Japanese Kanji) is an old Japanese way of entertainment where a person tells a funny story by changing his voice to sound like other people. Sounds like a perfect job for a robot, doesn’t it?
Long time ago before the inventions of TV, Internet, e-mail, chats and other modern entertainment channels, people were bored. No wonder! To cure depression and cheer up people’s lives there have been jokers and individuals trying to spread good mood.
One way to do that is to tell a funny story, but without making people fall asleep while telling it. To boost the entertainment value it could for example help to change the voice in pitch and tone as well as turning your head slightly (to not stare into the air…like a robot!).
The purpose of the Rakugo robot is to look as human like as possible. Realistic looking soft humanoid robot skin on the face is the result of the famous Japanese makeup artist Shinya Endo.
Beicho Android – The Next Generation Human Like Robot
What’s the name of this human robot? Beicho Android of course since the name of the cloned Rakugo master is Beicho Katsura III.
In case you are located here in Japan then please go to Sankei Hall Breeze. There you can witness hourly impersonations including face expressions and gestures. Something worth telling your grand children in the future. -”I was there when it began!”.
The human robot sits on a stage as Rakugo performers do in traditional Japanese manner and has an Asian paper fan (called Sensu and spelled as ?? using Japanese Kanji symbols) as well as a tiny piece of cloth (called Tenugi and is written as ?? with only two symbols in Kanji) as its tools.
Notice how the android robot on the left above catches the audiences eye contact while the real celebrity speaks. It’s as if he steals the show. I would find it creepy if I had a clone who interacted with my friends or audience.
Today’s robots use face recognition to detect where you are watching and to analyze in case you are having eye contact with it or not. Now the robots know what you are focusing on with your eyes. Whether you are paying attention or not. Or simply want attention.
A Brief History of Japanese Mood Lifting Rakugo Story Telling
Rakugoka (??? meaning the lone storyteller) is the correct name for such a traditional entertainment person in Japan.
An even older name for Rakugo is Karukuchi (written as ?? in Japanese Kanji).
That Kanji was first used back in 1787 to describe what we nowadays call Rakugo, but back then known as Karukuchi.
Though back then in time the Kanji symbols ??? were read as otoshibanashi meaning falling discourse.
The expression Rakugo wasn’t used here in Japan until the Meiji period.
In case your Japanese history lessons are non-existent then I can remind you that the Meiji era in Japan lasted between 1868 to 1912. When Japan stopped being an isolated feudal state and became modern.
Later on Rakugo grew into a more common term during the now former emperor Showa period (between 1926 to 1989 to be exact).
As you may know the Japanese time system is not counted as in the Christian Western world.
In the Western world the birth of Jesus Christ is defined as year zero.
Instead the traditional way of counting years in Japan is based on which Emperor was ruling when.
Unfortunately it means people need to keep track of when each Emperor were ruling.
For example Showa 5 means the fifth year of the Showa period.
It’s up to you as a person living in Japan to map it to correct year backwards in time.
Personally I’ve had a tough time with that year conversion mechanism as a Western foreigner living on Kyushu in West Japan.
Meet The Robot Creator. Like Darth Vader Said: -”I Am Your Father!”
This robot is not built like ordinary traditional robots. No, instead it uses advanced air servos to create smooth realistic looking movements to imitate us humans. Especially the typical head movement of a Rakugoka. A servo is a type of electrical motor used for robots.
Instead of us humans adapting to machines and their interfaces, now it’s time for the robots to adapt to us humans by looking like us and behaving like we do. That’s the challenge.
If you have been waiting for Terminator robots, then this is as close as you can come to a human android.
Only in Japan. Or at least first in Japan. It’s the patented near future export market technology.
The robot father Hiroshi Ishiguro works as an University professor in Osaka with specialization in advanced human like robotics.
His previous famous human like robots include the now world known human android Geminoid F (as well as a robot clone of himself).
She is the female humanoid robot that I met in Tokyo back in 2009.
Japanese Robot Programming And The Future Of Intelligent Robots In Japan
I myself as a robot programmer and software developer (living and working in Japan) feel honored by the fast moving progress of human like robots. What I witness now in Japan is a beginning of what sooner or later will become the basis of future service robots that people in general will get used to in society.
It is expected that the global world market robotics industry is on its way to grow larger than today’s car industry – turning car manufacturers (such as Japanese Honda owning the Asimo robot) into the new robot factories of the future.
The world is never going to be the same again. Mark my words.
Working robots doing jobs without any salary. The next thing coming up are robots that interact with us humans the way we humans are used to.
Not through traditional machine interfaces or user commands, but simply by acting like people. This is only the beginning of something much larger.
Wait and see! I believe human like Android robots are here to stay.
Yes, some would say that a humanoid robot is simply a sophisticated moving doll with make up.
I partly agree.
Visually the human clone robots look great and mechanically they can express themselves well using their soft facial expressions.
Like the humanoid robots working in some of our Japanese hospitals watching patients by stereoscopic video camera image recognition.
What I personally am fascinated by is the advancement in the most recent state-of-the-art image recognition technology in Japan.
I witness that on daily basis at the IT research and development center at Waseda University in Japan.
Waseda University is ranked as the number one private technical University in Japan. Focus on robotics.
They come up with amazing discoveries and inventions that are so new that journalists have not even heard of them yet, until public press releases are made.
Technically it’s classed as industrial secrets how these things work (since it’s patent based discoveries involved) and I’m not allowed to discuss details with the outside world. Especially about our source code.
What I on the other hand want to say is that I notice and see the technological advancements in the field of real time image recognition. So much new is happening right now. Every week I see it with my own eyes.
This is the age of scientific discoveries leading us into something new and yet unknown that have the power (in both good and bad ways) to change our human society forever.
The next generation intelligent self learning machines that move are on their way to our civilian society.
Not stupid old-school toy robots, even though such can be fun from a simple down-to-earth entertainment perspective.
Kids need those ones of course.
With moving I mean mobile navigating robots that move by walking with their feet or drive by using wheels.
Our new climbing robots fall into this category too. That is a huge growing niche right now. I have seen such vertical wall climbing robots clean and repaint metal walls in our Japanese industry areas.
Large climbing robots that work in pairs of two where one robot removes old paint from tall metal walls. Meanwhile the other climbing robot follows and paints the newly cleared up regions of the metal wall. A team work done by robots. You get more for the money.
This is highly useful in for example large size industrial oil tanks and cargo ships.
Japanese already existing climbing robots do a real physically heavy job worth money in salary, but hey…robots work close to free. Give them a bit electricity and they are happy.
Cheaper than a human, doesn’t become allergic by inhaling toxic chemicals and loves to work on weekends and nights as well. Never complains or gossips during work hours.
Robots do the job cheaper than the international competitors out there who yet have not discovered the economic benefit and unfair advantage of robotizing their business to grab market shares. Expand the enterprise to new markets with paying customers.
How about job losses? Doesn’t somebody lose their job here? Like the painter dude?
Maybe not. At least if the industry itself can do its core business better and more efficiently then they have a chance to generate more income. You get more bang for the bucks.
If their orders increase then possible transport jobs are created. As well as office jobs. Not to forget the logistics jobs that follow a successful business. Other types of work as well.
To be able to have benefits like these it takes a real world decision based brain capacity of a visually seeing creature or in this case an advanced machine (like an intelligent robot).
As a coder I am interested in these things because it opens up job opportunities for myself and other people in my shoes who know how to develop code and design systems from scratch. It pays my lunch so to say.
Imagination sets the limit. Dare to think outside of the box. If you can dream it, you can build it. Someone has to do it, so do it yourself.
The so called future may arrive earlier than expected. That is my personal opinion as a robotics programmer in Japan. Let’s see how the future becomes?!
Nobody knows until it arrives. We can only guess. This is my prognosis.
I just know that what customer wants – it sells. Sells even better if you can show that your robotic product cuts costs. That’s the same as increasing earnings.
Has anyone noticed the current low conjuncture in the world? The US dollar is falling and so is the cursed Euro. What do we need then? Cut costs. Hmm?
What about human health? If you are seriously ill, the one and only thing that matters to you is to get well. All other wishes seem to at least temporarily disappear. Health is the same as life itself. Keeps you away from death.
What do I want to say? Well, humans will always spend money on healthcare. Especially those who have no other choice by illness or accident. Money can not replace health if there is no cure or treatment.
There we have an industry that has money. It constantly needs new stuff. Always wants to cut costs and to become more profitable or push back cash into the system and deliver even better health care to the next lucky patient.
Japan is the country in the world where people live the longest. The health care industry is of course booming like never before.
My job is to develop computer software within the Japanese medical robotics industry. There you got it. The loop is closed. It’s an industry that doesn’t lack customers (someone always gets ill and there is most probably always someone else who is even more ill).
In other words no lack of paying customers who are ready to pay big amounts of money.
How much is your loved one worth? This industry is like made for robotics. Cut costs, get more for the money, make people get back their health when they have become ill by any reason.
It’s a win-win situation. Symbiosis where robotics and mankind go hand in hand. Where robots are good and welcome.
Where patient security is increased and chances or should we say risks of getting wrong medicine is getting closer to non-existent.
That is my job. To make the Japanese medicine robot technology deliver what the promises say. Give people a higher life quality by fighting diseases and illnesses.
Hopefully it brings this world to a better place to live in. Not just for us but for future generations as well. Maybe next time it’s your life (or somebody close to you who you love) that is saved thanks to the new evolving technology. At least that is how I think of it when I go to work every morning.
In case you are one of those who laughed at the old clumsy computers from the 1960′s and 1970′s, then look at them now how much they have evolved. The same thing is going to happen with robots. But faster! Much faster.
Now as toys and entertainment. In the near future as an unpaid high performing work force. Hopefully making your life to the better!
Do you wish that you had bought early IBM, Microsoft or Apple stocks before their businesses grew large? You’d have been rich now.
Maybe it’s time to consider the robotics industry which is growing rapidly. If you don’t believe me, come to Japan and see it by yourself. Welcome to the future! And by the way – the future is now! At least here on Kyushu island in South-West Japan. The silicon island.
Filed under: Japanese Robots
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