The robot, named, Aiko Chihira, was engineered to make fluid arm and hand movements to speak in the Japanese sign language. All 43 actuators in the droid’s joints make it possible to create simple hand movements.
The robot can mimic common hand movements for greetings, etc. Toshiba hopes that by 2020, the technology that powers Aiko Chihira will allow her to create complex communication forms.
The tech giant will also add more features to make Aiko Chihira a full communications robot, including speech synthesis, speech recognition, robotic control and other sensors.
Apart from the improved hand gestures, the droid can blink, evoke facial expressions, and move her head around fluidly.
Toshiba’s goal in developing Aiko Chihira is to create a “companion for the elderly and people with dementia, to offer tele counseling in natural speech, communicate through sign language and allow healthcare workers or family members to keep an eye on elderly people.”
Does Aiko Chihira look familiar to you? It’s because Toshiba collaborated with robotics experts at the Osaka University, the same group of geniuses who have been developing and launching different humanoids for years. The University sourced most of the technology that allowed Toshiba to create a life-like robot.
Toshiba stepped up its game by asking assistance from Shibaura Institute of Technology and Shonan Institute of Technology. The collaboration allowed Aiko Chihira to have sensor-based motion-teaching technologies and robot driving technologies. Toshiba then developed the algorithm that coordinates and controls the actuators.
She’s one hell of a droid, watch Aiko Chihira’s demo here: