Thursday, 29 September 2011

Fact Based Fiction - Japanese Technology

Giving the direction I wanted to take my project in terms of updating the essence of Yuki-Onna into a synthetic being, extracting the character in this way could possibly be a step too far and completely alienate her from the motif's & origin entirely without some form of proper grounding and integration.

In order to modernise a tale, as many have been done previously, they tend to have some sort of relation to our present society, or at least the way it is may be heading, in order to over-exaggerate the situation and allow reflection and metaphors to take hold. The best way I cans sync in the 'Synthetic' element to this character will be by basing fiction on fact, and gauge what stage current technologies have reached so far through research

Humanoid Robotics & Android Technology

An android is a robot or synthetic organism, designed to look and act like a human. Although "android" is used almost universally to refer to both sexes, and those of no particular sex, "Android" technically refers to the male form, while "Gynoid" is the feminine form. Until recently, androids have largely remained within the domain of science fiction, frequently seen in film and television.

Reoccurring Attributes:

Self-maintenance (like recharging itself)
Autonomous learning (learn or gain new capabilities without outside assistance, adjust strategies based on the surroundings and adapt to new situations)
Avoiding harmful situations to people, property, and itself
Safe interacting with human beings and the environment
Sensing, Actuating and Planning and Control

Honda: Asimo

Timeline of Android Development

Without cramming to much text based information in my posts, here's an interesting link documenting the progress off Humanoid Robotic developments:


Latest Advancements:

Geminoid DK

This is the latest iteration of Geminoid series of ultra-realistic androids, from Japanese firm Kokoro and Osaka University roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro. Specifically, this is Geminoid DK, which was constructed to look exactly like associate professor Henrik Scharfe of Aalborg University in Denmark

Like with the other Geminoid robots, all of the movements and expressions of Geminoid DK are remote controlled by an operator with a computer, who uses a motion-capture system that tracks facial expressions and head movements. Turn your head and the Geminoid does the same; move your mouth and the android follows suit.


The HRP-4C is a female humanoid robot, created by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology - a Japanese research facility. An in-public demonstration was put on March 16, 2009.[1] It measures 158 centimetres (5 feet, 2 inches) tall, and weighs 43 kilos (95 pounds) - including a battery pack.

The robot's shape and joints are based on the 1997–1998 Japanese body dimension database. The HRP-4C has a realistic head, and the average figure of a young Japanese female. It can move like a human and responds based on speech recognition. It is capable of recognizing ambient sounds and, by using the vocal synthesizer Vocaloid, can sing. Recent upgrades have allowed HRP-4C to mimic human facial and head movements, as well as execute dance steps, resulting in the most realistic performance yet at Tokyo's Digital Content Expo in 2010.

Actroid Der2

Actroid DER2 is a fembot (female robot) created by Kokoro, a Sanrio company specializing in the design and manufacture of robots. It's the new guide robot at the Sanrio headquarters in Tokyo, and has a wider range of expressions as well as thinner arms for a more attractive look; both of these are upgrades over last year's model. Other upgrades include improved smoothness of movement

Actroid DER2's limbs, torso and facial expressions are controlled by actuators powered by pneumatic pressure. She is able to synchronize voice, gestures and facial expressions.

List Of Japanese Robotics


How This Will Effect Japan

Japan Looks To A Robot Future

Coming across this particular post is what really helped me gain a better insight in to facts based around the technological advances which are in our horizons., and the ethics surrounding them.

"To live among people, robots need to handle complex social tasks," said project leader Junichi Takeno of Meiji University. "Robots will need to work with emotions, to understand and eventually feel them. While robots are a long way from matching human emotional complexity, the country is perhaps the closest to a future — once the stuff of science fiction — where humans and intelligent robots routinely live side by side and interact socially.

For Japan, the robotics revolution is an imperative. With more than a fifth of the population 65 or older, the country is banking on robots to replenish the work force and care for the elderly. In the past several years, the government has funded a plethora of robotics-related efforts, including some $42 million for the first phase of a humanoid robotics project, and $10 million a year between 2006 and 2010 to develop key robot technologies.

The government estimates the industry could surge from about $5.2 billion in 2006 to $26 billion in 2010 and nearly $70 billion by 2025. Besides financial and technological power, the robot wave is favored by the Japanese mind-set as well.

Japan is already an industrial robot powerhouse. Over 370,000 robots worked at factories across Japan in 2005, about 40 percent of the global total and 32 robots for every 1,000 Japanese manufacturing employees, according to a recent report by Macquarie, which had no numbers from subsequent years.
Japanese are also more accepting of robots because the native Shinto religion often blurs boundaries between the animate and inanimate, experts say. To the Japanese psyche, the idea of a humanoid robot with feelings doesn't feel as creepy — or as threatening — as it might do in other cultures.

One million robots by 2025?, that's just what the Japanese government has been counting on. A 2007 national technology roadmap by the Trade Ministry calls for 1 million industrial robots to be installed throughout the country by 2025. "Robots are the cornerstone of Japan's international competitiveness," Shunichi Uchiyama, the Trade Ministry's chief of manufacturing industry policy, said at a recent seminar. "We expect robotics technology to enter even more sectors going forward."

"What we need now isn't the ultimate humanoid robot," said Kyoji Takenaka, the head of the industry-wide Robot Business Promotion Council. Still, some of the most eye-catching developments in robotics are coming out of Japan's labs. "In the end, we don't want to interact with machines or computers. We want to interact with technology in a human way so it's natural and valid to try to make robots look like us," he said. "One day, they will live among us," Ishiguro said. "Then you'd have to ask me: 'Are you human? Or a robot?'"

Which really does help give the direction I want to take my project some sort of plausibility
Quite an interesting fact that seems to resonate from this is the fact that Japan is possibly at the forefront of technological advancement in the industry. This informative research will also help me scope out possible routes to take in terms of narrative, as well as traits/capabilities that the character could have, which in turn will effect the character design.

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