Up next: ver­sa­tile hu­manoids, an­droids


Chi­hira Aico is a hu­manoid from Ja­pan’s Toshiba Cor­po­ra­tion. The words are Ja­panese for “peace on earth”. It was on dis­play at the 10th Sum­mer Davos Fo­rum in Tian­jin last week.

This eerily life-like in­tel­li­gent in­ter­ac­tive ro­bot de­buted at Ja­pan’s CEATEC Show in 2014. It was cre­ated by Toshiba Corp, Pro­fes­sor Hiroshi Ishig­uro of Osaka Uni­ver­sity, A-Lab, and two other in­sti­tu­tions. Aico was de­signed to be a 32-year-old Ja­panese woman and op­er­ates as hu­manly as pos­si­ble.

Ac­cord­ing to Hi­toshi Tokuda, chief specialist of Mar­ket­ing Strate­gic Of­fice in Re­search& De­vel­op­ment Divi­sion of Toshiba Corp, Aico is pow­ered by 43 pneu­matic ac­tu­a­tors to help “her” ex­press fa­cial ex­pres­sions and body move­ments.

Although some crit­i­cized Aico as be­ing too hu­man-like that may cause ‘un­canny val­ley ef­fect’, Toshiba added a few­more hu­manoids to the Chi­hira fam­ily, in­clud­ing Chi­hira Kanae that­was on dis­play at the ITB travel expo in March and Chi­hira Junko that pro­vided cus­tomer ser­vice at the Aqua City Mall in Odaiba, Tokyo.

Toshiba Corp claims Aico to be the most re­al­is­tic hu­manoid among all the an­droids, and en­vi­sions that it and its “sis­ters” could be com­mer­cial­ized and made to un­der­take jobs such as news re­port­ing, mu­seum au­dio guid­ance, health­care as­sis­tance to the el­derly and the phys­i­cally chal­lenged and even cheer­lead­ing.

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