Not quite the Tin Man

Life­like, al­lur­ing ro­bots Ji­a­jia a and Aico also can help with chores res

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By MASI masi@chi­nadaily.com

At the Sum­mer Davos of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum in Tian­jin last week, a young cor­po­rate ex­ec­u­tive ap­peared ut­terly be­witched by an at­trac­tive and young Chi­nese woman in a tra­di­tional white robe.

Her red lips and shiny black eyes seemed to draw him to­wards her. The woman re­sponded gen­tly to his over­tures: “Sir, I don’t have a boyfriend, for I im­merse my­self whole­heart­edly inmy work.”

Her tone of voice wasa give­away. The ex­ec­u­tive quickly re­al­ized the speaker was not a woman but Ji­a­jia the ro­bot. Ji­a­jia seemed to re­de­fine ‘vir­tual re­al­ity’ with its stun­ning re­sem­blance to a woman.

The life­like ro­bot is a prod­uct of a re­search team from the Uni­ver­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy of China in He­fei, An­hui prov­ince.

Ji­a­jia was un­veiled in April. ‘She’ quickly earned the nick­name “Ro­bot God­dess” for her com­bi­na­tion of phys­i­cal beauty and deep learn­ing abil­ity.

Ji­a­jia is still in de­vel­op­ment and not up for sale yet. But Chen Xiaop­ing, the direc­tor of the re­search team, be­lieves Ji­a­jia will be a good as­sis­tant for the el­derly in fu­ture.

Chen said he started to work on Ji­a­jia three years ago. He was driven by the re­al­iza­tion that peo­ple’s in­ter­est in any ro­bot model usu­ally does not last for more than three min­utes.

Ji­a­jia can be taught to in­ter­act with peo­ple through not just con­ver­sa­tion but phys­i­cal move­ment. “We mod­eled Ji­a­jia after five fe­male stu­dents at our uni­ver­sity,” Chen said.

Ac­cord­ing to Chen, Ji­a­jia can nat­u­rally move her eye­balls and her speech can be in sync with her lip move­ments. More im­por­tantly, she can pro­duce mi­cro ex­pres­sions to match the content of her speech. Stated dif­fer­ently, Ji­a­jia can get as real as real can be.

“When Ji­a­jia says, ‘I’m happy’, she will smile, just as hu­mans might do,” he said. “With a pleas­ant im­age and an ap­proach­able con­ver­sa­tional style, I hope Ji­a­jia can also help ease peo­ple’s fear and con­cern about ro­bots.”

Name: Ji­a­jia Na­tion­al­ity: China Age: 2.5 months (de­buted on April 15, 2016) Pro­ducer: Uni­ver­sity of Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy of China (USTC) ID: Third Gen­er­a­tion of “Ke Jia” In­ter­ac­tion Ro­bot Lan­guage: Chi­nese Ex­pe­ri­ence: Won the Best In­tel­li­gent Ser­vice Ro­bot of Robocup 2013-15 (three con­sec­u­tive years) Do­cent for USTC school his­tory Hosted the first In­ter­na­tional Ro­bots Spring Fes­ti­val Gala

Name: Chi­hira Aico Na­tion­al­ity: Ja­pan Age: 2 (de­buted at Ja­pan’s CEATEC Show in 2014) Pro­ducer: Toshiba Cor­po­ra­tion ID: First Gen­er­a­tion in the Chi­hira Se­ries Lan­guage: Ja­panese, Chi­nese, English, Korean and Ja­panese Sign Lan­guage Ex­pe­ri­ence: At­tended CEATEC Show 2014 At­tended Con­sumer Elec­tron­ics Show 2015 Pro­vided cus­tomer ser­vice at Mit­sukoshi depart­ment store in Ni­hon­bashi, Tokyo, Ja­pan

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