Toshiba’s robot is designed to be more human-like
Toshiba has viewed the new generation of the Chihira robot at a trade fest in Berlin, Germany. The machine that is produced to look like a human as much as possible has had the German language added to it. The firm has told that it has upgraded the control system of the machine to make its movements smoother.
One of the experts have suggested that the realistic appearance may not be suited to the western audiences. Prof Noel Sharkey who is a roboticist at the University of Sheffield has said that he thinks the machine still fell clearly on this side of the uncanny valley. Toshiba brought its Chihira Kanae droid to the ITB travel expo to showcase what it hopes can be a viable product for the tourism industry.
The machine has got installed at an info desk where it can respond to the attendees’ verbal questions about the conference. Like the predecessors, Chihira Kanae can also interpret & give answers to requests in English, Japanese & the Chinese language as well as by using the sign language.
It could be combined with any type of language processing system so that we can make her speak a lot of other languages also. They have produced Chihira Kanae to have a human like look as people, specifically the older generation find such a look very welcoming & approachable. This is very important as in addition to her work in the tourism & the service industries, Chirhira Kanae can be utilized in the health sector also to care forthe older generation.
They have also found that the people prefer to speak to a human like communication android as they can ask their queries as many times as they require without feeling any kind of embarrassment or some kind of awkwardness whereas Prof Starkey is not at all convinced by the Toshiba’s approach. He says that as a robot, it is very good but it still has a slight look of that psycho killer.
He has added that there is a growing cultural split in opinions about how the android should be looking like. In the surveys between Japan & the US, it seems that the Japanese want the robots which are indistinguishable from the humans while in the US & the west, people would rather like to know that it’s a robot to whom they are dealing with.