South Korean scientists are working on a new-generation robot resembling a human which will be able to walk the walk as well as talk the talk, one of the team said.
The first walking “android” will make its debut within two to three years, said So Byung-Rok, one of the team of researchers at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology.
Androids present particular technological challenges in cramming complicated modules, motors and actuators into a life-size body.
The team has already developed two android prototypes designed to look like a Korean woman in her early 20s, which can hold hold a conversation, make eye contact, and express anger, sorrow and joy.
The latest version, named EveR2-Muse, was unveiled last month at a robot exhibition in Seoul.
She made her debut billed as “the world’s first android entertainer” singing a new Korean ballad “I Will Close My Eyes For You.”
“Standing like a human, she can sing a song and move her arms, hips and knees to the rhythm although she cannot lift her feet or walk yet,” So told AFP in reference to EveR2-Muse.
“We are now working to improve the motion and upgrade intelligence so that next-generation androids can walk like a human, engage in more sophisticated conversations and have a wider range of facial expressions.”
Researchers at Japan’s Osaka University unveiled their own female android capable of speaking and making gestures but So said it was only mobile from the waist up.
“We are using electric motors built underneath the silicon skin but a Japanese android uses air pressure to move. The Japanese android moves faster from the waist up than ours does but it needs a giant air tank attached to it,” he said.