Wikinews/Interviews/The man behind the robot - an interview with Hiroshi Ishiguro
Lately I got interested in the topic of Repliee Q1 - a live looking, female android. I contacted professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, the Japanese designer of the robot, and asked him for a short interview. I'm still waiting for the final reply, but I want to get some questions from the community - so here we go - post your questions, change the background info, do whatever you want - it's all yours. It's a Wiki world, so edit it ;).
I'm also trying to get some images of the robot and professor Ishiguro, licensed under a CC licence.
I really hope the Japanese Wikinews community will help in translation of the questions and answers, so we can send them to professor Ishiguro later.
Japan was the first country to successfully make bipedal robots. Even though Repliee Q1 can't walk, or even can't stand up - it's currently the hottest topic in the world's scientific community. Not only does it look like a normal human being - it also acts like one.
Currently, Repliee Q1 has an appearance of a young woman, unlike its predecessor, Repliee R1, which looked like a 5-year old girl. To program motion of the android, a computer analysed the motions of a human and transferred them unto Repliee Q1. The results? Repliee Q1 can already fool people into thinking she's a normal person.
"An android could get away with it for a short time, 5-10 seconds. However, if we carefully select the situation, we could extend that, to perhaps 10 minutes," said professor Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University, the designer of Repliee Q1. "I have developed many robots before, but I soon realised the importance of its appearance. A human-like appearance gives a robot a strong feeling of presence."
In this stage of development, Repliee Q1 can only sit - she can't walk, but she can move her hands just like a human. Not only that - she also can flutter her eyelids, and she appears to breathe. Her skin is made out of flexible silicone, and her upper body is filled with 31 actuators, powered by a nearby air compressor.
The Wikinews reporters had a chance to ask professor Ishiguro a few questions about Repliee Q1, the future of robotics, and many other interesting things. How did it turn out?
It would be great if we could do an interview for Wikinews World Report.
Q. Thank you for sharing some of your time with us, professor Ishiguro. Our readers already know about Repliee Q1 - but could you explain to us how did the process of creating such a robot look?
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Q. How much work did it take you to evolve Repliee R1 into Repliee Q1?
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Q. It seems to be a lot of work to make a robot flutter its eyelids and pretend to breathe. Why do you believe that appearance is so important?
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Q. What are the most important features of a realistic human robot?