Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CB2 baby robot developing social skills

                CB2 is a child-sized robot developed at the Japan Science and Technology Agency. CB2, which stands for Child-Robot with Biomimetic Body, was unveiled at Osaka University. CB2 (which appears to be pronounced "cee-bee-squared") reproduces the slightly gawky movements of a 1-2 year old toddler with eerie accuracy.

                CB2 is 130 centimeters long and weighs about 33 kilograms; it has 56 air cylinders that provide muscular strength in a human-like way. CB2's eyes are also cameras; its ears are microphones.
The soft silicone skin covering CB2's body enhances human interaction with the robot; the 197 tactile sensors embedded in the skin provide the robot with information it needs to interact with its surroundings.
If you tap the shoulders of the CB2 robot, it blinks in surprise, stops moving and turns its head to gaze upon the person who touched it.

              CB2 is a prototype research robot; the intent is to provide roboticists with additional experience so they can create even more lifelike machines. According to the team's project leader, this "soft" robot technology  will be used in robots that can better assist us in our daily lives. The next step is to develop a version of CB2 with the vocabulary and cognitive skills of a three year-old.

Video1: Toward the end of this report, the announcer says that within the next four years, researchers at the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) -- who worked with Osaka University to develop CB2 -- hope to create a slightly more advanced version of the robot that has the vocabulary and cognitive skills of a 3-year-old child. At the end of the report, the Osaka University project leader says this type of "soft" robot technology will facilitate communication between humans and robots, which will prove useful for research purposes and for developing robots that can better assist and entertain us in our day-to-day lives.

Video2This report also mentions that the research team hopes to eventually create a robot that children can play with.  
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