New Japanese caregiver android completely awesome, also completely horrifying

The proletarian dronebot is already in the works; this is really just part of the new service sector. All it needs is a metallic skin and it’ll be ready to chase Linda Hamilton around a factory. Or oversee mass evacuations in Cah-lee-for-nee-ah.

Think how happy grandma will be to have this thing tucking her in at night. Sweet dreams.

According to an October 24 press release, NICT drew from research in neuroscience, cognitive science and psychology to create an android that relies on body language — i.e. gestures and touch — to facilitate natural and effective communication with humans. When used in conjunction with (or instead of) spoken communication, the robot’s body language aims to simplify communication with people likely to have trouble interacting with robots, including children, the elderly, the computer-illiterate, and people who speak other languages. NICT researchers hope the technology behind the droid’s “universal communication” skills will one day be put to practical use in robots that can work in the home or assist with rescue operations when disaster strikes.

The droid’s body language skills are due in large part to technology that allows it to observe, recognize and remember human behavior. NICT’s robot learns body language by watching — much like children, who learn nonverbal communication by watching others — and it can mimic the observed behavior with natural human-like motions. The robot also creates 3D maps of each body it observes, and it commits the map to memory.

The exit question we’re all thinking but no one wants to ask: Is this, y’know … version 1.0?

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