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Aiko: The Gynoid

Aiko is a gynoid - woman alike robot. She stands at just under five feet when upright, and has a model's perfect proportions. Designed by Canadian citizen Le Trung, the bot is fluent in both Americanised English, and Japanese. Possessing around a 132,000 word vocabulary for each language.

Aiko still has a somewhat rubberish look

Her creator states that the Aiko project was created as a carer for the elderly sector of the population, with the stated intent being for her to be something to perform basic care and companionship. Why then, the 32.24-inch bust, 22.44-inch waist and 33.07-inch waist? Why does she have perfectly chiselled features, and why pick the code name Aiko, which means love child in Japanese?

Aiko's core is Trung's AI creation, the 'Biometric Artificial Intelligence Neural System' or BrAINS as it is referred as. This neural network controls speech, reading, math, vision, hearing, automation and non-visual orientation/limb positioning sensors, all from within the same framework, much like an organic brain would albeit many orders of magnitude less sophisticated. Written in C, BrAINS has the ability to not just expand its neural network, but also to modify its own coding to a limited extent, allowing the gynoid to learn and adapt to behaviour her creator perhaps did not envisage.

Aiko has haptic sensors running all throughout her body, clustered into erogenous zones just as a human would. She can determine when pressure is exceeding tolerances, and will react to that sort of stimulus as if it were pain, articulating that it hurts. She will adapt to behaviour she does not like, even going so far as to tell a user to "stop touching me".

Aiko at Ontario Science Centre, November 2008

As the above video shows, Aiko's movements are still very stilted, and clearly animatronic in nature. She has extremely limited control of facial emotion, most of her sensor capability being located in her body, and her eyes tend to stare blankly into space, even when she is looking straight at you. Definitely still on the far side of the uncanny valley, Aiko is still a far cry from her inventor's eventual hopes.

An interesting side-development of the Aiko project has her parts developed much the same way as prosthetic components are. This design parallel is not coincidental. As the above video explains, the idea is that Aiko standard components, can be fitted to humans just as easily, with the full sensor systems and movement controls parallelling other prosthetics as much as possible. With an ultimately mass produced robot series, this could lead to very cheap, high quality prosthetic parts.


Project Aiko Homesite

A Perfect Female Companion: Project Aiko


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