Osaka University professor Hiroshi Ishiguro is best known for his humanoid robots. But this might be his best work yet.
Erica might be the most life-like humanoid robot to date. The 23-year-old Android was created with the goal of imitating human speech and body language, hoping to have “completely natural” conversations. Erica stands 5 feet 5 inches tall and was made to look like a Japanese-European ‘haafu.’
The fascinating part about Erica is that she understands spoken Japanese not only with audio, but with body language – blinking, moving your head, raising your eyebrows, and more.
Erica is so human-like that during her debut she uttered to an audience member, “uuuunnnnn?” – a way of saying “really??” in Japan.
Here’s an interaction Erica had with a reporter during Erica’s debut, according to Damn Geeky:
Reporter: “What are your hobbies?”
Erica: “I like watching movies, sports, and anime. Do you share any of my hobbies?”
Reporter: “I like watching sports.”
Erica: “Oh but you’re so busy with your work, you must not have much free time to do I.”
Erica is a collaboration between the Japan Science and Technology Agency, Osaka University, the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) and Kyoto University.
What do you think? Is Erica the most realistic humanoid robot to date? Either way, she’s not nearly as creepy at Toshiba’s ChihiraAico humanoid robot that turned heads at CES 2015 with her John Denver impersonation. And nothing could be as scary as Yangyang, a humanoid with a striking resemblance to Sarah Palin, the former Governor of Alaska. It’s creators, however, say the resemblance is simply a coincidence, but we’re not buying it.