Aiko Chihara may have silicone skin but her arm movements are fluid enough for sign language (via Toshiba)
Aiko Chihara is looking for a job either in the welfare or healthcare fields (or both) sometime in the near future, however she will need more education in the field of software programming refinements before that happens. Like most of the younger generation, she, too is working a temp job before she can advance into the career she was born to do. So before that happens, she will work for tech giant Toshiba, manning the company’s reception desk at their booth at this year’s CEATEC 2014 that was held in Japan.
Aiko is unique, though, and not like everybody else looking for a career in the fields mentioned above. Instead of being flesh and blood, she’s an android with internal circuitry, a mass of servos all wrapped up in a silicone-based skin. Toshiba put her on display at this year’s annual electronics trade show in Japan. What sets her above most other robots is that she has uncannily fluid movement in her upper limbs, which allows her to perform sign language as well as speak fluid Japanese while doing so.
The android is actually the product of several different tech companies; Shibaura Institute of Technology and Shonan Institute of Technology provided the robot’s motion sensing and teaching technologies. aLab Inc. and Osaka University created the robot’s body and head, capable of showing human expressions and Toshiba designed the algorithm that provides fluidity to the android’s 43 actuators in the robot’s joints. As it stands at the moment, Toshiba will use Aiko at future tradeshows and exhibitions coming up next year but hopes to develop the android further for use in welfare centers as well as healthcare institutions.
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