Human-like robots were once held in the fabric of humanity’s collective mind as a far-off and fascinating idea – something from the minds of great science fiction writers that would probably never happen. Even though robots and robotics in general have existed for decades, they were machines – they looked like blocks of metal and wires – not blinking, smiling, laughing, talking humans.
Even in the 1960’s with Walt Disney’s Imagineering team at Disneyland creating something called audio-animatronics – first as realistic birds for the classic Disneyland attraction “The Tiki Room”, and then as human like robots that could blink, move their lips, and generally seem human-like for attractions such as the classic “Pirates of The Caribbean” – the world viewed the idea of a robotic “human” as a novelty.
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But, in the last two decades, robots, technology, and computers have grown and evolved at such a massively rapid pace that public opinion has shifted from viewing realistic human robots as fascinating to, as the Tech Times put it today, “creepy”. This coming just weeks after Japan announced the fist human-like robot had been hired to work at a department story, and on the heels of Tesla creator Elon Musk saying that artificial (robotic) intelligence is “summoning the demon”.
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The Tech times released an article today about YangYang, a human-like robot that can shake hands, act drunk, and speak – their verdict? YangYang is not all it’s hyped up to be.
Tech Times reports:
Scientists in China have revealed a robot called Yangyang, and it is creepily realistic.
The robot has a close resemblance to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Yangyang has the capability of changing facial expressions, shake hands and speak, which makes it very human-like.
Yangyang was introduced at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing and its key objective is to attract young people in studying robotics. The robot was dressed in a long red coat and donned glasses and lipstick. Yangyang greeted visitors at the GMIC and fooled many visitors who thought it to be a real human.
The robot was produced at the Yangyang Intelligent Robot Science Service Centre and can demonstrate a wide range of facial expressions. The latest creation is another advancement in producing humanoids that can replace humans for many activities.
Yangyang is not the only lifelike robot made in the world. On April 18, a humanoid called Han also greeted visitors with its creepy human-like expressions. While Yangyang has a full human like body, Han is just a robotic head.
Hanson Robotics is the company behind Han, which can be controlled with the help of a mobile app. The robot can frown, smile, wink and even act like a drunk. The robot can also speak.
Grace Copplestone, a product manager at Hanson Robotics, revealed that Han has about 40 motors on its face that control its delicate and intricate facial expressions. It has camera fitted to its eyes and chest that allows it to recognize expressions of people interacting with him.
“He has cameras on his eyes and on his chest, which allow him to recognize people’s face, not only that, but recognize their gender, their age, whether they are happy or sad, and that makes him very exciting for places like hotels for example, where you need to appreciate the customers in front of you and react accordingly,” says Copplestone.
A previous report suggested that humanoids in Japan are being used as a news caster and as well as a museum tour guide.
Machines have taken over many human tasks, which have made many jobs easier as well as faster. Humanoids like Yangyang and Han are important scientific inventions, which may attract many and make life easier for many people. However, we are still years away from 100 percent dependency on robots for many human tasks.
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