Geminoid F – human-like female robot gets better facial expression
Hiroshi Ishiguro, a professor at Osaka University, is famous for creating a robot replica of himself, the Geminoid HI-1, a teleoperated android that he controls remotely. The new gynoid robot named Geminoid F (“F” stands for female) is also designed to be remote controlled by an operator. It is a copy of an actual woman in her 20s with the ability to exhibit diverse facial expressions more naturally than Ishiguro’s previous human-like robots.
Ishiguro built the android as part of his work at Osaka University and ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, with collaboration from Kokoro Co., a Japanese firm that specializes in animatronics and ultra-realistic androids (we already wrote about their robot named I-FAIRY).
In designing Geminoid F, Ishiguro’s team and Kokoro engineers wanted to create a gynoid that could exhibit a wide range of natural expressions without requiring as many actuators as other androids they’d developed. In particular, they wanted the robot to sport a convincing smile as well as to make a frowned facial expression.
Whereas the Geminoid HI-1 has up to 46 actuators, the new Geminoid F has only 12. Furthermore, the HI-1 robot requires a large external box filled with compressors and valves, while the Geminoid F has embedded air servo valves and an air servo control system into its body. Because of that, the Geminoid F requires only a small external compressor.
During the robot presentation, Geminoid F smiled and furrowed its brow in almost simultaneous mimicry of the woman. The mimicry is achieved via the tele-operation system, developed by Ishiguro’s ATR Intelligent Robotics and Communication Laboratories, which consists of a smart camera that tracks the operator’s facial movements. The corresponding data is relayed to the robot’s control system, which coordinates the movement of the pneumatic actuators to reproduce the expressions on the android’s face.
“I felt like I had a twin sister,” the woman told reporters afterwards.
The new design helped reduce the android’s cost. According to AFP report, Kokoro will sell copies of Geminoid F for about 10 million yen (US $110,000). Ishiguro and his collaborators plan to test the android in hospitals and also show it off at science museums and other venues.