The age of the runway android, the robotic fashion model, possessing a form
that no flesh and blood woman can, may be finally nearing us. A couple of days
ago at time of writing, Japanese researchers, at the National Institute of Advanced
Industrial Science and Technology, showed off a gynoid - female form android
- capable of strutting her stuff on a catwalk.
Attractively named HRP-4C, is shaped like a woman, and looks entirely female
from the neck up. She has a face which is idealised for Japanese beauty - slightly
oversized, almond eyes, and a slip of a nose. An overall small face is framed
by shoulder-length black hair. Five foot two inches tall, she is the average
height of a Japanese woman, but, thanks to the same technology used in prosthetics,
she weighs in at just 95 pounds, including her power source.
Her face is alive with motion, utilising 42 motors to control every aspect,
and make her appear to be human. Her very robotic body, is similarly equipped;
every joint capable of movement as lithe as a cat.
The robot proved her reflexes at the Monday press conference where she was
unveiled, striking poses like a human fashion model. Of course, unlike a human
model, she can work night and day, never complaining, never tiring.
"If we had made the robot too similar to a real human, it would have been
uncanny," said one of the inventors, humanoid research leader Shuji Kajita.
"We have deliberately leaned toward an anime style."
The preview was a warm-up for the robot's appearance as an actual model at
a Tokyo fashion show on March 23rd. Hirohisa Hirukawa, another researcher, said
the institute hoped to commercialise the gynoid in the [near] future.