The Professors Doppelgänger Robot
Although there are numerous researchers out there creating humanoid robots, none are as explicit about the close relation between anthropomorphism and narcissism as professor Hiroshi Ishiguro from ATR Intelligent Robotics Laboratory. Ishiguro decided that if he’s going to be a roboticist he might as well create an “angry eyes” twin-brother version of himself, the Geminoid HI-1 (japanese website).
The remarkable realism comes from silicone molds cast from Ishiguro’s own body. Ishiguro is using his robot twin brother to teach his classes for him, and creep out students with lifelike movements such as blinking, “breathing” and fidgeting. The robot can be remotely controlled via a motion capture system that tracks Ishiguro’s mouth movements and allows the robot to speak his voice – or that of an assistant if he’s feeling particularly uninspired.
The aim of the project is to experiment with the viability of tele-presence and find out if he can really command the attention of a classroom with a mere robot doppelgänger. Ishiguro thinks future business meetings will have androids and humans side by side at the table. Well, lets be positive, it sure would save a lot of business class flights. There is also a peculiar video of Geminoid HI-1.