Boffins build bionic baby

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Boffins build bionic baby

JAPAN - Child-robot with Biometric Body has 200 optical, auditory and tactile sensors.

Boffins at the Japan Science and Technology Agency in Osaka have created a child-sized android with flexible joints and soft skin.

The 1.3 metre, 33kg robot is designed to emulate the physical abilities of a one or two year-old toddler.

The Child-robot with Biometric Body (CB2) has around 200 optical, auditory and tactile sensors, along with 51 compressed air actuators inside its body which enable it to make complex movements smoothly.

A putty-like silicone skin covers the body, allowing the robot to react to its  surroundings by blinking and altering its facial expressions. It can turn over and stand up with assistance, much like a small child.

The sensors allow it to react to input like touch and sound, and the CB2 will even try to grab objects dangled in front of it. The CB2 can speak, although it has a very limited vocabulary.

CB2 was developed by Hiroshi Ishiguro and Minoru Asada, who hope that the robot will help scientists learn more about childhood development.

The researchers hope that the design will allow for more realistic looking robots in the future which may be better integrated in future society, and are currently working on software that will enable the CB2 to walk and talk like a three year-old.
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