The Japanese robot master roll call, smile and scolds, provoking laughter from the students with realistic face. But the designer says he is not ready to replace human instructors.
Unlike most mechanical-looking robots like Asimov, Honda Motors, the master robot, called Soya, can express six basic emotions – surprise, fear, disgust, anger, happiness and sadness – because the rubber skin is pulled from behind by motors and cables around the eyes and mouth.
In a demonstration, the robot’s mouth opened, her eyes widened and his eyebrows arched in a tone of surprise. Soya stretched his lips into a smile and said pre-programmed phrases as “thank you very much”, moving his lips, to express pleasure.
“Robots that look like humans tend to be very much in children and elderly,” said Wednesday Hiroshi Kobayashi, a professor of Tokyo University and creator of Soya, the Associated Press. “The children even begin to mourn when Soya reprimanded.”
Developed initially as a receptionist robot in 2004, Soya was tested in a real classroom in Tokyo this year with a handful of students of fifth and sixth grades, but still can not do much more than roll and shout orders like “Shut up! .
The children had fun, Kobayashi recalled, smiling when Soya said their names. Still, it is controlled remotely by a person who observes the interaction by cameras, he said.
Japan and other countries are hoping that robotics will eventually be a solution for its growing labor shortage to an aging population. But scientists say there is still a machine capable of dealing with children and the elderly.