Friday, June 8, 2007

So young and so...robotic

A group of scientists in Japan have developed a humanoid that acts like a toddler to better understand child development.

The Child-Robot with Biomimetic Body, or CB2, was developed by a team of researchers at Osaka University in western Japan and is designed to move just like a real child aged between one and three years old.

CB2, 4.3 feet tall and weighing 73 pounds, changes facial expressions and crawls on the floor.

The robot's movements are smooth fitted with 56 actuators in lieu of muscle. It has 197 sensors for touch, small cameras working as eyes, and an audio sensor.

CB2 can also speak using an artificial vocal cord.

When it stands on its feet, the robot wobbles like a child who is learning how to walk.

Minoru Asada, a professor at Osaka University who leads the project, said the robot was developed to learn more about child development. The goal is to study human recognition development such as how the child learns a language, recognizes objects and learns to communicate with his father and mother.

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