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att. Japanese Culture - Relationship between human beings and robots
att. Culture - Relationship between human beings and robots
You are here: att.JAPAN > General Information > Relationship between human beings and robots
att.JAPAN Issue 38, January 2008

Relationship between human beings and robots

AshimoWhat image do you have when you think of robots you are familiar with? And what do you expect robots to do? There are various types of robots in the world ranging from humanoid ones to ones completely machine-like in appearance.

Some robots are difficult to be distinguished as a robot. Take "Paro" as an example. Paro is entered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most therapy-effective robot in the world. It looks like a stuffed baby seal and behaves as if it were a true seal. Paro can distinguish the degree of strength and the direction of the movement when it is touched, tapped or hugged, using touch sensors which convey such information to its computer. Even if you cannot keep real animals as a pet at home or take them together with you, you can always stay with Paro.

AshimoThere is another type of robot, named "InterRobot," which responds as if it listened to and understood what you say when you talk to its microphone. Giving you a nod is its special talent. Experts in communication created InterRobot, getting a hint from a fact that human beings can respond and give a nod even when they sense phonetic rhythm only. If you observe timing when persons make a nod during conversations, you will find that they unconsciously nod at the point when a speaker ends a sentence, which means the speaker's voice stops. Did you notice? (Yes.) Regardless the language in which speakers speak, InterRobot can respond. In that sense, InterRobot is multi-lingual, not only bilingual or trilingual.

These above-mentioned robots mentally appeal to a person. In addition, there are other types of robots, such as those which physically help a person and those which operate machines. All of them are embodiments of ideas that scientists and engineers aspired to realize in robotic form.

You can in fact see and touch robots at Miraikan (National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovationin) in Odaiba, Tokyo. You may well find fantastic robots beyond your imagination there.


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