Tag: ‘Osaka-University’

CB2 baby humanoid robot

01 Jun 2007

CB2, baby humanoid robot --

On June 1, researchers from Osaka University's Graduate School of Engineering unveiled a robot that acts like a human infant, which they hope may one day help scientists better understand the child development process.

The researchers have named the baby robot "CB2," and for now, it is designed to function as a 1- to 2-year-old child, gazing intently at its surroundings, squirming about on the floor and lighting up the room with child-like charm.

CB2, baby humanoid robot -- The 130 cm long, 33 kg robot features 56 air cylinders that serve as muscles. With cameras for eyes and microphones for ears, and with 197 tactile sensors embedded in the layer of soft silicone skin covering its entire body, CB2 is well-equipped to take in environmental stimuli. When CB2's shoulders are tapped, it blinks as if surprised, stops moving, and turns its gaze toward the person who touched it, and when a toy is dangled in front of its eyes, it appears to devote all its energy to trying to reach for it. CB2 also has a set of artificial vocal chords that it uses to speak baby talk.

The researchers say that once CB2 is equipped with software that gives it the ability to learn, they will be very interested in undertaking the long-term challenge of teaching it how to walk and talk.

[Source: Asahi]

====================

CB2, baby humanoid robot

UPDATE: Check out videos of little CB2 -- whose full name is "Child-robot with Biomimetic Body." Fans of Actroid and Geminoid might recognize one of the faces in the videos -- that of robot designer Dr. Ishiguro.

Video 1: Toward the end of this report, the announcer says that within the next four years, researchers at the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) -- who worked with Osaka University to develop CB2 -- hope to create a slightly more advanced version of the robot that has the vocabulary and cognitive skills of a 3-year-old child. At the end of the report, the Osaka University project leader says this type of "soft" robot technology will facilitate communication between humans and robots, which will prove useful for research purposes and for developing robots that can better assist and entertain us in our day-to-day lives.

Video 2: This report also mentions that the research team hopes to eventually create a robot that children can play with.

Device uses waves to “print” on water surface

24 Jul 2006

AMOEBA draws letters on water surfaceResearchers at Akishima Laboratories (Mitsui Zosen), working in conjunction with professor Shigeru Naito of Osaka University, have developed a device that uses waves to draw text and pictures on the surface of water.

The device, called AMOEBA (Advanced Multiple Organized Experimental Basin), consists of 50 water wave generators encircling a cylindrical tank 1.6 meters in diameter and 30 cm deep (about the size of a backyard kiddie pool). The wave generators move up and down in controlled motions to simultaneously produce a number of cylindrical waves that act as pixels. The pixels, which measure 10 cm in diameter and 4 cm in height, are combined to form lines and shapes. AMOEBA is capable of spelling out the entire roman alphabet, as well as some simple kanji characters. Each letter or picture remains on the water surface only for a moment, but they can be produced in succession on the surface every 3 seconds.

Researchers at Akishima Laboratories have developed similar devices in the past that used waves to draw pictures on the surface of water, but those devices had trouble producing letters with straight lines (such as the letter K). Additionally, it took the previous devices up to 15 minutes of data input time to produce each letter.

The newly developed technology uses improved calculation methods for controlling the wave generators, relying on formulas known as Bessel functions. In addition to being able to draw letters consisting of straight lines, the input time has been drastically reduced to between 15 and 30 seconds for each letter.

Akishima Laboratories expects the technology to be incorporated into amusement devices that combine acoustics, lighting and fountain technology, which they hope to see installed at theme parks and hotels.

====================

UPDATE Dec 27, 2006: Check out this short video of AMOEBA in action, from the World Business Satellite (WBS) news program (props to Seihin World). AMOEBA forms the letters "WBS" on the water surface.

[Source: Fuji Sankei]

Geminoid videos

22 Jul 2006

Geminoid with creator IshiguroGeminoid is a remote-control doppelganger droid designed by and modeled after Hiroshi Ishiguro, professor at Osaka University and researcher at ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories. Robot Watch has released some short videos, which you can see at the links below. Video format is WMV.

Video 1: Ishiguro introduces himself through Geminoid.

Video 2: This segment shows Geminoid's facial movements. The telepresent Ishiguro explains, "When someone touches Geminoid, it seems as if I am the one being touched."

Video 3: Geminoid (Ishiguro) doesn't like it when you touch his face.

Video 4: Geminoid is programmed so that his head continues to move, even when not being specifically controlled.

Video 5: Sitting next to Geminoid, Ishiguro discusses his research concerning "presence."

In Latin, gemin means "twin" or "double," while -oid is a suffix indicating a "likeness to something else." Hiroshi Ishiguro would say that his Geminoid is like a twin. The body is a copy of Ishiguro's, and the shape of Geminoid's skull was created based on MRI scans of Ishiguro's head. And Geminoid shares some of his mannerisms.

Geminoid's body, which was produced by Kokoro, makers of the Actroid line of fembots, has 46 degrees of freedom and is driven by a system of air compressors. The skin consists of soft, silicone rubber. Confined to a chair at the moment, the android is unable to stand up and move about on his own. Communication and power cables exit his rear end and snake through the shaft of the chair out of sight. It took 6 months of work to develop the body and about 2 to 3 months to develop the software.

One of the purposes for creating Geminoid is to explore the concept of tele-existence -- to figure out what is needed in order to copy an actual human's "presence" so that he or she may exist in two places at once. "I wonder how possible it is to separate one's inner self and outer self, to create distance between one's body and soul," Ishiguro says.

See more photos of Geminoid at the link below.

[Source: Robot Watch]

Size matters for Citizen’s Eco-Be!

07 Mar 2006

Eco-Be!On March 6 in Osaka, Japan, Citizen Watch Co., Ltd. (Tokyo) unveiled a mini-robot driven by a small wristwatch motor.

The two-wheeled robot -- called “Eco-Be!” -- is 1.8 cm wide and 2.5 cm tall and is operated via infrared remote control.

At the unveiling, the tiny robot demonstrated the ability to move forward and backward, as well as turn smoothly from side to side. Eco-Be!, which is powered by watch batteries and features low power consumption, will make an appearance at RoboCup 2006 in Germany this June.

Citizen president Makoto Umehara says he hopes Eco-Be! will prove useful in the development of smaller and lighter weight robots. The company will conduct further research with Osaka University to improve the robot’s performance.

[Source: Hokkaido Shimbun Press]