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Japanese developers have unveiled a new tele-operated android. It's called "Telenoid R1" and is controlled by a computer which sends signals to the robot via a standard Internet connection.
Developers say the robot will be used to teach children and act as companions for seniors.
It might look a bit like "Casper the friendly ghost" but it actually a loveable and hugable robot "Telenoid R1."
The development team's lead scientist says they wanted to create an android with minimal and androgynous features.
ISHIGURO HIROSHI is known in the robotics industry for designing life-like inventions. He invented the robot Geminoid HI-1 modelled on the himself.
Professor Ishigro Hiroshi, Osaka University, said, "Unlike Geminoid, Telenoid R1 has not been created to look identical to anyone in particular. It is recognizably human, but the minimal design means that you are unable to distinguish whether the robot is male or female, young or old."
The robot is extremely light and is designed to be picked up, carried and even hugged.
Ishiguro says developers paid particular attention to giving the robot a "human like" skin that is pleasant to touch.
Professor Ishigro Hiroshi, Osaka University, said, "The android is made in a size that people can hug and hold. This made it particularly important to attempt to replicate human skin."
The robot is controlled by software on a computer, and sends signals to the android through a standard Internet connection. The signals control simple movements of the robot's head and body.
Cameras in close proximity to the robot send a video feed to the operator, and this allows them to see the android and companion.
The operator's speech is projected through speakers in the android's chest, and the intended effect is like a virtual human.
If you're keen, the robot will cost about 8 thousand US dollars.