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The Robot Professor

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the omg-i-want-one dept.

136

kaizokunami writes "From Wired News, we learn that a Japanese professor has created an android of himself that he uses to 'robot in' to classes. According to the article, 'It blinks and fidgets in its seat, moving its foot up and down restlessly, its shoulders rising gently as though it were breathing. These micromovements are so convincing that it's hard to believe this is a machine -- it seems more like a man wearing a rubber mask.'" More from the article: "'I want to check whether students, as well as my family, can feel my presence through Geminoid,' says Ishiguro, who seems perfectly at ease with his new twin. Geminoid already has a palpable gravitas that comes across when chatting to Ishiguro through the android, and one hesitates to even poke the machine's rubbery hands and cheeks."

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automated grad student (2, Funny)

dan14807 (162088) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758071)

Grad students are now obsolete.

Re:automated grad student (1)

rockytriton (896444) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758252)

FINALLY Someone came up with a way to make more asians!

Re:automated grad student (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758377)

Thank you. I haven't had that good of a laugh all day. You just saved my wife from a beating to improve my mood!

Apologies to Wernher von Braun (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758703)

I think Asians won't be obsolete for a while, if only because we can mass-produce them using unskilled labor.

Re:automated grad student (2, Funny)

DJCacophony (832334) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758665)

"You are a threat to you graduating. Prepare to be destroyed."

Re:automated grad student (2, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758711)

With my luck, next class I take I'll end up with a robotic grad student standing in for my robot professor.

And it'll probably have a damn thick accent, too. *breep*-*breep*

Let me be the first to say... (5, Funny)

BigWhiteGuy_27 (804307) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758096)

Domo arigato, Professor Roboto!

Re:Let me be the first to say... (2, Insightful)

vancondo (986849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758424)

..he is the modern man, with parts made in japan.

no, wait a minute... He's Kilroy!

Hey Professor... (1)

spun (1352) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758884)

What's another word for pirate treasure?

[voice= Twiki's Girlfriend]
Well I think it's Booty Booty Booty!
[/voice]

Don't forget to turn it off (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759205)

Have you ever gone to a lecture where the speaker forgets to turn off his wireless mike and then does or says something embarassing like for example taking a bowel movement in the bathroom while the entire lecture hall listens in?

Now imagine "roboting in" from home to give your lecture, then forgetting to turn it off before you did something else you might do in your home. Maybe burst out into a Numa-Numa rendition, Starwars fight with your dog, or spank the monkey.

I'm sure it will happen when these "presence" avatars become ubiquitous.

I can see it now... (0, Offtopic)

Cherita Chen (936355) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758111)

I can see it now, the building catches on fire, and some poor fireman/policeman/samaritan gives his life or lung trying to save a freaking robot...

Re:I can see it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758175)

I would think the cables running out its ass would be a clue...

Re:I can see it now... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758187)

This is Japan we're talking about...

Re:I can see it now... (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758414)

Could happen. In my neighborhood a man actually risked his life running into a frickin' tornado to save what turned out to be a Cabbage Patch doll.

KFG

Re:I can see it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15759270)

Now what would be REALLY touching and moving is to see a robot fireman run into a fire to save a burning robot.

Now professors (1)

ZenKen (963177) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758116)

don't need to show up to class to teach like students don't need to show up to learn....

Re:Now professors (3, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758428)

In future degrees will be awarded on the basis of library fines.

KFG

Re:Now professors (1)

Nesetril (969734) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759039)

they are doing that already at Harvard. except they are using parking fines.

Palpable gravitas.... (4, Funny)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758127)

I have been looking for an android with a palpable gravitas for a long time. I hope it is fully functional.

Re:Palpable gravitas.... (2, Insightful)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758261)

Stop being so damn funny, some of us are at work and now look like crazy people.

Re:Palpable gravitas.... (0)

nebaz (453974) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759279)

Ever been modded 50% overrated and 50% underrated without acutaly being rated?
Yes

Re:Palpable gravitas.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758890)

I don't think it's 'palpable' in the way you think it is.

Re:Palpable gravitas.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15759529)

'Palpable gravitas'?? Who talks like that?

This is pretty confusing.. (1)

DarkFalconOfTheWestF (979703) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758139)

it seems more like a man wearing a rubber mask.
Kinky... Now where is my Cherry 2000 [imdb.com] !?

Time for (2, Funny)

zymano (581466) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758150)

Robot Supermodels.

Re:Time for (1)

Charmless1 (887381) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758338)

oblig movie quote:
Lisa: "You guys created me, I didn't come from anywhere. Before you started messing around with your computer, I didn't even exist. By the way, you did an excelent job. Thank you"

Re:Time for (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758454)

omg-i-want-one

OMG Robot ponnies!

I for one welcome our new Robot Professor Overlords!

(sorry, I am not good for this)

Re:Time for (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759139)

Seriously, I can't think of any other role in society that would be more easily performed by a robot! The job description is simple: walking manequin.

So this Japenesse professor is actually... (1)

SageMadHatter (546701) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758162)

...Dr. Noonien Soong?

Just not a fan of such humanoid robots (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758174)

For some reason I am not a fan of humanoid robots. Ghost in the Shell is cool to watch, I just don't want to live in such a world.

Re:Just not a fan of such humanoid robots (4, Funny)

AcidLacedPenguiN (835552) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758591)

blasphemy! I've always wanted a female invisible naked assassin robot to be a reality!

Re:Just not a fan of such humanoid robots (1)

Cervantes (612861) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759467)

blasphemy! I've always wanted a female invisible naked assassin robot to be a reality!

Personally, I'd rather the female naked assassin robots weren't invisible. Because of both the "naked" part, and the "assassin" part.

Re:Just not a fan of such humanoid robots (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758696)

So, which would you prefer run around the earth?
  • Humanoid Robots
  • Cloned Humans

Because they're both coming, and IMHO either way it's going to suck.

Re:Just not a fan of such humanoid robots (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759392)

I would rather none, but I do see the benifits of the technologies that would make them possible.

So what are you going to do about it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15759585)

I just don't want to live in such a world.

You might not have many choices. Apart from suicide, of course. I really don't recommend that. Why not try to come to terms with the age we live in?

Uncanny Valley (4, Interesting)

condition-label-red (657497) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758188)

I wonder where this fits on the Uncanny Valley [wikipedia.org] curve?

Re:Uncanny Valley (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758608)

About the same place your comment does on unfunny alley, asswad.

STNG (2, Funny)

PetriBORG (518266) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758197)

But is this robot professor... fully functional? Alternitively, in other news half of slashdot realizes that they can make their very own girl robot...

Ow! My eyes! The goggles, they do nothing!

Re:STNG (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759073)

I've had several educators at college act like a robot; Maybe all we need to do is hook some type of biometric device on to these un-educators and let a professional take them over.

Hair styles (1)

zoloback (785676) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758205)

So he creates and android that looks exactly like him, looks upon his creation and does not realize that he needs a change of style?
I personally would have made myself taller, a little more athletic, and heat vision is a must.

Sealab 2021 (1)

jwocky (900748) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758841)

Stormy: okay, so what if i put my brain in a robot body, and then there was a war between robots and humans, which side would i be on?

Debbie: humans! you still have a human brain

Sparks: but the humans would discriminate against you. you cant even vote!

Marco Rodrigo: man, we better not have to live on reservations, that would really chap my caboose!

Evil Twin? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758207)

who seems perfectly at ease with his new twin

Sure, he may be at ease with his 'twin' now, but little does he realize that it's actually all part of its nefarious plan for world domination. Soon he will be disposed of, and his identity taken over...

Re:Evil Twin? (1)

freeze128 (544774) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759380)

No, first there will be some cases of mistaken identity, which usually leads to an episode where the professor goes on 2 dates at the same time, and has his android fill in for him and.... Oh wait, maybe that was an episode of Three's Company or something.

How do we get to be teacher's pet? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758214)

Do we give the professor a disk with a jpeg of an apple on it?

Re:How do we get to be teacher's pet? (1)

cno3 (197688) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759617)

No, but if you plug in an iPod you can download the answers to next week's exam.

I for one.. (3, Insightful)

Rorian (88503) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758222)

welcome our new android lecturer overlords?

Seriously, something like this must destroy students concentration.. It certainly seems to take away the human side of teaching.

Re:I for one.. (1)

onlysolution (941392) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759090)

I think the point of this robot was to allow the human side of teaching to be projected remotely. Something like this, if the professor can get the robots look and actions farther towards the right of the uncanny valley [wikipedia.org] , will hold a student's attention far better than a video-conference type setup and allow a single professor to be in multiple places at once. Doesn't seem like a bad idea at all.

Impaired Human (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758227)

Interesting! While the android is in deed very similar looking to the actual guy it does give off the aura of not beeing "entirely there"! It reminds me of the "look" of a paraplegic or of someone who has suffered a stroke. I don't mean this to be insensitive, its just that it is interesting that the best attempt at artificial life resembles a human who has sufffered from some sort of trauma.

This is really great, but... (5, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758241)

...the shit's going to hit the fan when the guy dies and the robot decides to seek revenge on the guys that made fun of him in college, leaving the dimwitted clones of one of the revengee's children to seek out help from their grandfather's crack team of adventurers.

Re:This is really great, but... (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758585)

"Bar-ba-ra! Bar-ba-ra! Use the English Bone China cup! And if it's not hot enough, I'll throw it on the floor!"

Impressions mean alot (4, Interesting)

general scruff (938598) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758244)

There is something about the gaze of an intelligent person that can't be replicated. I'm wondering if this might have some subconscious effect on the students. I'm sure it would be alot harder to keep eye contact with a creation like this. And from there who knows what the complications would be.

Does anyone else think they would have a hard time learning from and listening to an object that didn't exude intelligence, even if in the background it was being controlled by a highly intelligent individual?

Re:Impressions mean alot (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758746)

Does anyone else think they would have a hard time learning from and listening to an object that didn't exude intelligence

I've had to learn from quite a few professors that don't exactly exude intelligence, so I'm not sure this really changes anything. If anything, they absorbed it.

Re:Impressions mean alot (1)

Slightly Askew (638918) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758774)

Does anyone else think they would have a hard time learning from and listening to an object that didn't exude intelligence, even if in the background it was being controlled by a highly intelligent individual?

Yes. I always find my attention wandering during those State of the Union Addresses.

Re:Impressions mean alot (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759181)

You are restating the article:
Ishiguro said he wants the robot to have sonzai-kan, or presence. His group will try to quantify the elusive quality that makes people sit up and take notice, and figure out how it can be captured and transmitted.
But how do you know the gaze of an intelligent person can't be replicated?

Re:Impressions mean alot (1)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759637)

I wish to coin a phrase: "The Wizard of Oz Effect". ... Now I just have to write a paper about it.

not an intelligent robot (3, Informative)

escay (923320) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758255)

FTA it looks like the actions and movements of the android have to be entirely controlled by humans using motion sensors. The android apparently is incapable of reading any kind of inputs (visual/aural) and processing and acting on them (the eyes/ears are for purely cosmetic reasons and nothing more, i believe). This is purely a controlled mechanical robot, not an intelligent auto-responsive robot - and though it's a neat proof of concept, I wonder what its real world applications could be?

Re:not an intelligent robot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758388)

Exactly. It's not an android; it's a puppet.

Re:not an intelligent robot (1)

poser101 (982233) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758684)

FTA...

But why bother to build robots that look like humans? Ishiguro views machines as good vehicles to learn more about human nature. He combines engineering with cognitive science with the aim of making very humanlike robots, which can be used as test beds for theories about human perception, communication and cognition. He calls his approach "android science."

"A robot is a kind of simulator for expressing human functions, especially the cerebellum or the muscles," says Norihiro Hagita, director of the ATR lab that developed Geminoid. "It's a kind of ultimate human interface."

Re:not an intelligent robot (3, Insightful)

onlysolution (941392) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759115)

That is is because it is not an really meant to be an intelligent, autonmous robot. It is a telepresence device that has automatic fidgeting and breathing capabilities to allow it to appear more human.

Re:not an intelligent robot (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759223)

Somebody says that about virtually every story with the word "robot" in it, which makes me wonder if those making the observation are working with a nonstandard definition of the word. In this case, I think you're mistaken - I get the impression that at least the autonomic actions, like breathing, tapping a foot, and shifting in the chair, run automatically. Quote: "it runs on semiautonomous motion programs." I doubt he's wearing a sensor that conveys the precise timing of his breathing.

Personality Simulations (1)

Puff of Logic (895805) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758275)

Not bad, for a first step. Of course, he should really be working on a beta-level personality simulation such as those described in Alastair Reynolds' series of books (Revelation Space et al). With that achieved, he wouldn't even have to be involved in teaching students. Now that is a solid technological goal!

Couldn't be worse than some that I've had... (4, Interesting)

kabocox (199019) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758279)

I bet this thing would do a better job than some of the professors that I've had. What's really funny, is that general ed. teachers may find themselves out of work as one of these teachs an entire class prerecorded material. The only negative is that it can't answer questions, but then again most teachers don't answer questions. They would just need to fill it with verbal outputs all saying, "find the answer yourself." If these were cheap enough, I could see them replacing some highschool teachers and some college either general ed or freshman level courses. I saw one post about super model versions next. Well, you know this is crafted after a teacher most wouldn't pick. They'd most likely pick a super model or atleast a very attractive person to use as the model for these things if they went into production.

Re:Couldn't be worse than some that I've had... (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758393)

What the fuck is the point of that?

Why sit in a class and listen to a recording while staring at some Chuck E Cheese prop when you could sit at home and read the material 10 times faster?

Are we so hung up on this obselete and ancient system of "lecture" that we would stoop to such levels?

Get it through your head everyone! Sitting in a lecture is the antithesis of learning! College is a highly inefficient way to learn as a result of this.

Re:Couldn't be worse than some that I've had... (2, Funny)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758670)

Sitting in a lecture is the antithesis of learning! College is a highly inefficient way to learn as a result of this.
A lecture is a method of transferring words from the teacher's paper to the student's, without passing through the brain of either.

One of my lecturers told me that at one of the few lectures I attended. All the time I thought i was lazy, I was just being efficient.

Re:Couldn't be worse than some that I've had... (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758737)

Nice. :P

Re:Couldn't be worse than some that I've had... (1)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758620)


  Um, they have teachers like this. It's called a "book on tape", or equiv. Skip the Disney rubber face BS.

  That said, the learning process should be much more interactive with a mentor that that. If you're not able eto dialog with your prof., then you may be in the wrong class. (Maybe you're talking to a mannequin?)

Re:Couldn't be worse than some that I've had... (2, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758790)

Um, they have teachers like this. It's called a "book on tape", or equiv. Skip the Disney rubber face BS.

Or if it makes you more comfortable, play the book on tape through a Teddy Ruxpin. Same difference.

Re:Couldn't be worse than some that I've had... (1)

Bloke down the pub (861787) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758725)

I could picture it in tec support. Just make it choose randomly from "Try turning it off & on again", "have you tried searching google" and "RTFM!!!".

Re:Couldn't be worse than some that I've had... (1)

Rudisaurus (675580) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758927)

I saw one post about super model versions next. Well, you know this is crafted after a teacher most wouldn't pick. They'd most likely pick a super model or atleast a very attractive person to use as the model for these things if they went into production.
They already have. She's called Repliee Q1Expo [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Couldn't be worse than some that I've had... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759155)

They'd most likely pick a super model or atleast a very attractive person to use as the model for these things if they went into production.


I am afraid you are right. Not only is this a model, it will become a role-model as well. Unfortunatly we live in a time where looks are more importand then anything else.

I have seen an "ultimate makeover" where a (kindergarten?) teacher got the makeover. Now this was no makeover due to some extreme disforming. Nothing a bit of makeup, a new hair and clothing style and an attitude change could handle.

For me this teacher is telling the kids: No matter how hard you try or what you know or do, unless you don't look great you are worthless.

But can this RoboProfessor... (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758352)

...detect your Crackberry that has all the test answers sent to you remotely by your friends?

If so, that would be an ingenious invention.

Don't trust this guy (2, Funny)

Da_Biz (267075) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758363)

I want to check whether students, as well as my family, can feel my presence through Geminoid.

Sounds like this guy is using The Force to suit his evil purposes.

you insensiti7e clod! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758371)

be in a scene and for successful Brain. It is the t4at *BSD 0wned. person. Ask your endless conflict rivalry, and we'll the longest or Leaving core. I th:e project as a

That's straight-up dope, foo. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758372)

Dupe article. [gizoogle.com]

Fo'shizzle.

So we've gone from artificial intelligence... (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758380)

... to artifical schizophrenia, in just a few short years.

What wonderful times we live in.

Seriously, though - if this thing can wait for the cable guy, he should sell a million of them.

I'd be careful (4, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758431)

That android looks pissed in *every* photo. You know, if it started a rampage, the only way to disable it is to crush it in a hydraulic press, or melt it down. I'd guess they haven't prepared a bubbling pool of molten slag - just in case.


And those grad students need to take better care of themselves - look at the acne on the guy in the last picture! He's giving even the most ardent mom's basement-dwelling /.ers a run for their money!

Re:I'd be careful (1)

ozbird (127571) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759092)

That android looks pissed in *every* photo. You know, if it started a rampage, the only way to disable it is to crush it in a hydraulic press, or melt it down. I'd guess they haven't prepared a bubbling pool of molten slag - just in case.

Relax, it's Japan - they have ninjas.

next step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758455)

Instead of Old Japanese Male College Professor robots, can we get Young Blonde Female College Student robots? Because I'd, uh, be willing to, you know, test out the functionality.

So what else is new? (-1, Flamebait)

p33p3r (918997) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758482)

So what!... BIG DEAL!...we have robots in America...
DICK Cheney's robot is
George Bush!

The Oil Companies have them too!
Capitol Hill!

I wish... (1)

screeble (664005) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758491)

For the past two days I have been remotely participating in a Siemens hiQ 4200 operations and maintenance course. Although I can hear my fellow students over VoIP and view the presentation over a slideshow I'm finding that I miss the simple interaction of person to person communications. It's been very easy to get distracted by e-mail and things that are happening in real life. I've been thinking that there should be a video feed to go along with the audio and text presentation. Even a simulated instructor would be better than the way delivery is going on here now. Of course, the droning on about ssh sessions and unix administration might have something to do with why I'm having trouble keeping focused.

Not impressed. (3, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758492)

To be completely frank, I think this robot is a waste of effort. The thing is completely dependent on human input which means they might has well just have the actual guy sitting there in front of people. Even if they were recording a number of preset facial expressions it will never be truly convincing because it wont be able to call on the nuances of human emotion.

A robot doesn't look alive simply because its eyes wander around the room. If the intent is to guage human reaction to the thing I think they're going to find the response is exceedingly negative given how mishapen and disturbing the robot looks.

It's not like this is anything particularly unique either, it just happened that this guy used his own face as a model. Although, I suppose this guy's work isn't surprising given the amount of research and development Japanese put towards consumer products. I predict that will be the ultimate application we'll see for this work.

I'd be impressed if they were developing AI which mimicked human reactions. If the thing could learn by watching people and apply those observations for its own use in interactions.

Re:Not impressed. (1)

David_Shultz (750615) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758784)

I'd be impressed if they were developing AI which mimicked human reactions. If the thing could learn by watching people and apply those observations for its own use in interactions.


This robot is not an exercise in AI -it is an exercise in robotics. Your lack of enthusiasm stems from the fact that you are interested in a different domain. To put the article in a more positive light, this story is a sign of the times. Maybe it doesn't demonstrate a completely new and incredible breakthrough (in fact it definitely doesn't), but it does represent a number of things: people are thinking of new and interesting uses of robotics technology; people are creating complicated robots on a whim (ie I felt like having a replacement in class to save time so I made one); robotics is in a state where humanlike movements can be readily recreated.

You might not be interested in this robot because it doesn't learn, but you are talking about a completely different domain. Aren't you at least interested in the fact that, once the abilities you are interested in are fully developed, we already have a working body to plug them into? Furthermore, we don't need to make the robot fully autonomous for it to have interesting cognitive abilities -the robot could be made to do certain cognitive activities on its own. For example, the professor, working remotely, clicks on an object in the robots visual display -a pen, let's say. The robot then has its computer vision kick in -notices the object is a pen, then its grasp-pen procedure kicks in. This is blending the cognition of the professor with that of the robot. It leaves the decision making and high level planning up to the professor, who initiates the action with only a click*, then the robot engages in the lower level cognitive acts. Cool, right? Well, we already have all the technology to make this a possibility. But, you need the robot to plug it into first!

*with a click, is basically how our mind works. We pick a location in space, and then consciously decide to grasp for it -the rest is an unconscious grasping protocol directed at that region in space -you don't have to consciously control your action, you jsut think about what action you are doing and where.

Re:Not impressed. (1)

Mathus (941922) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759486)

Keep in mind this design is not a way to "replace" the professor with something that acts autonomously. It is built to be a tele-commuting way to do your job. I for one think it would be great if instead of driving to work each day I could just step into a "VR room" (patent pending) and it would activate an android in my office to mimic my every move. If it could provide feedback such as sight and sound and I controlled its every move I could do my job from house. If you can eveuntaully make the able to walk and balance it would replace workers taking risk in "high-risk jobs such as having firefighters putting on VR suits to do thier job. They get the feedback and make all teh desicisions, they just don't have the risk of losing their life if something goes bad. Now I would not reccomend human controlled androids in security situations because you do not want your police officer or soldier hijacked by a hacker, but as a danger unit for bomb diposal, fires, or search and rescue this would be great.

The Future (1)

bigtimepie (947401) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758495)

I have seen the future, and it is robot pr0n!

Robot professors (1)

CtrlPhreak (226872) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758513)

This is something new? Obviously you never took engineering at Penn State, we've got loads of them, just step into a classroom. The administration swears they're human but I'm not believing it...

avatar (3, Insightful)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758536)

"Aside from improving his android's lip synchronization and developing autonomous control of eye gaze, Ishiguro wants to start interacting with students through Geminoid."

Which makes this an avatar. He provides the essential interactive elements which would make it appealing to students (he seems to hope).

Psychologists may find something interesting here, being the way humans relate to this 'once removed' human presence.

When I was a kid in australia we had some friends who lived a long way away in the outback. Their kids attended school by Radio sometimes (perhaps all the time, I don't recall, this was over thirty years ago). A teacher who had a local presence might be an interesting extension of that basic idea. It's virtually the same thing as radio in this context, but more advanced.

What might be good is to use such a device to interact with people who are severely disabled. A system capable of translating the teachers actions into stimuli useful for the particuler student would have a lot of advantages. That way one teacher could interact with a class full of students with varying needs, where their own version of the Avatar translates to their needs.

Re:avatar (1)

KURAAKU Deibiddo (740939) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758847)

Your post reminded me of a movie I'd seen, although it took me forever to remember the title so I could reference it on here. (Thank you, keyword search.)

The Japanese film Hinokio [wikipedia.org] is about a reclusive wheelchair-ridden boy whose father builds him a robotic avatar which he can control from his room, which he uses to attend school, etc. [Wikipedia has a longer summary; I'm trying to stay spoiler-free.]

I thought it was a fairly interesting film, and if the technology is there for a robotic-avatar teacher, perhaps someday there will be robotic-avatar students.

The State of the Art meets the Art of the State (4, Funny)

NetSettler (460623) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758543)

Let me guess--the only clues that it's a robot are that it has a permanently painted on smirk, its eyes don't seem quite focused, there's a square access panel on its back (the door to which makes a visible outline even over a suit jacket in debates), it gets tired late at night when its battery runs down, it is overly touchy-feely with German diplomats and bald people, ... and, of course, it requires a human to operate it from an "undisclosed location".

Re:The State of the Art meets the Art of the State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15758633)

I think it's a perfect match for the next presidency of the United States! :)

But it's not autonomous, right? (1)

sean.peters (568334) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758721)

Perhaps I misread TFA, but my impression was that this was really some sort of telepresence. How does it save you any time, if you have to be wired up to some control system for the robot to make all these lifelike motions, and you have to pay attention to the meeting to be able to speak intelligently if called upon? You might as well just be physically present.

It would be different if there was travel involved - then you would at least save the time of going to the meeting. But for local events, this seems like overkill. It's just a very expensive form of telecommunting.

Sean

Re:But it's not autonomous, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15759336)

and tfa says that the school in which he lectures is an hour's drive away.

mystery solved.

The point of the robot... (3, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758778)

I think a lot of people are really missing the point of what this robot is supposed to do. There's a lot of comments about how the robot itself isn't autonomous and has no intelligence. That's not at all the role that the robot is supposed to fill.

The robot is supposed to simply project the presence of the professor remotely. Obviously we can do that to some degree with just a two way television hookup, but it's not like being in the room. You can't point at students and interact with them through a flat display. You can't change where the camera is pointing, and the students don't really know what the professor can see.

I think the biggest thing that this robot is missing is "gaze". If you ask me, the single distinguishing feature of presence is making eye contact. As someone pointed out, it doesn't look like there's actually any cameras in the eyes of this robot, so the actual professor can't see what the robot is "looking" at. If the robot could have gaze, reproduce facial expressions, and even replicate hand gestures, I think that would go a long way to having remote presence.

Re:The point of the robot... (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759256)

"You can't point at students and interact with them through a flat display."

Sure you can. Just see where the student is in the room and point at that imaginary location. The viewing class will figure it out. Oh, call the student's name.

"You can't change where the camera is pointing, and the students don't really know what the professor can see."

That's even a more of a "sure". Have a joy stick.

It's done all the time now.

Just what is the need for a remote "presence" greater than a large screen with a camera mounted on top? It's not like this will actually "fool" anyone.

Yes, but... (2, Insightful)

daemonc (145175) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758936)

Does it dream of electric sheep?

Ummm... (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758962)

...there really isn't a whole lot of difference between what he's done and the classic Animatronics [animatronics.org] pioneered by the conservative state Disneyland in California. In other news, I posted my reasons for why I think humanoid androids are a dead end [slashdot.org] and they apply just as well here.

Related? (1)

westcoaster004 (893514) | more than 7 years ago | (#15758988)

Is this "Robot Professor" in any way related to "Video Professor" [videoprofessor.com] ?

Are there any video clips? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759085)

Are there any videos clip of this android in action?

Re:Are there any video clips? (1)

se7en11 (833841) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759390)

Here's [google.com] a small 17 second clip that appears to be the same thing.


"Do you know where that smell's coming from?"

It's a Bloody Puppet (3, Insightful)

se7en11 (833841) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759255)

From the Artcle's picture section:

"A Geminoid operator wears motion-tracking lip markers. When the operator moves his mouth, Geminoid's lips make the same movement. A speaker inside the android lets the robotic double be heard."

And best said by one of the comments below the picture section:

"It's not even an android. It's all puppet and that all it is. If you have to have an operator in a back room running the thing, it doesn't even qualify as a robot, much less an "android"..... Oh, and Jim Hensen is dead, so his opinion doesn't matter. Mark Cannistraci"

Be more realistic (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15759534)

Does he (the robot) hit on female students?

Is he (the robot) good enough to only hit on the really hot ones (infrared sensors)?

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