The Yomiuri ShimbunA childlike android that can move freely on four wheels has been shown to the press for the first time at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (Miraikan) in Koto Ward, Tokyo.
Presented to the media on Tuesday, the android named “ibuki” was developed by a team headed by Osaka University Prof. Hiroshi Ishiguro, a leading android researcher. The team will continue improving the android, aiming for it to eventually interact closely with human beings, such as showing people the way to their destination.
The android is 120 centimeters tall and weighs 37 kilograms. It was modeled after a 10-year-old child, and looks less intimidating than other robots.
Its framework is made of such materials as carbon and plastic, while its face and hands are covered with “skin” made of silicon.
By moving forward on four wheels and with a special joint at the waist, the android re-creates natural human movement with slight swaying. Its body contains a total of 47 motors, allowing such movements as smiling, waving its hands and holding things with its five fingers.
The researchers plan to add functions such as talking naturally with people and expressing its emotions through gestures. They also aim to have the humanoid robot walk on two legs in the future.