Just when you think Hiroshi Ishiguro is busy amplifying the uncanny valley effect of one of his previous androids, he rolls out a new model. This time, it’s a gigantic bionic baby. Boasting about 200 sensors (optical, auditory and tactile) and 51 air actuators — the 1.3 meter tall robot is designed to mimic the physical motions of a two year old.
Developed by Ishiguro and Asada at the Japan Science and Technology Agency, the robot’s body is covered with a putty-like rubber skin which makes it look like a suit. The robot has been dubbed CB2 — Child Robot with Biomimetic Body. The long term goal is to create a robot with the intellectual level of a 3 year old. Currently, CB2 utters child-like sounds in response to touch and sound, can wobble a few steps on its own — and will try and reach for toys that you dangle in front of it.
In case you haven’t heard of Hiroshi Ishiguro, he’s the creator of several life-like androids, including Repliee Q2.
The best video I’ve found, which shows its creators tussling around with it, has embedding turned off — but you can view that video on Think Artificial’s YouTube channel (direct link). For a few seconds, until I spotted Ishiguro, I was uncertain of whether I was looking at an art installation (a child in a suit) or an actual robot. I’m embedding another video below, but it doesn’t show off its motions as well as the other one. A noteworthy observation is that it’s the unprecise motions of the robot that make it look so natural.