CB2 Child Robot Lifelike (Yet Creepy) Video

CB2 is a child-sized robot developed at the Japan Science and Technology Agency. CB2, which stands for Child-Robot with Biomimetic Body, was unveiled at Osaka University. CB2 (which appears to be pronounced "cee-bee-squared") reproduces the slightly gawky movements of a 1-2 year old toddler with eerie accuracy.


(From CB2 Child-Robot with Biomimetic Body)

CB2 is 130 centimeters long and weighs about 33 kilograms; it has 56 air cylinders that provide muscular strength in a human-like way. CB2's eyes are also cameras; its ears are microphones.

The soft silicone skin covering CB2's body enhances human interaction with the robot; the 197 tactile sensors embedded in the skin provide the robot with information it needs to interact with its surroundings.

If you tap the shoulders of the CB2 robot, it blinks in surprise, stops moving and turns its head to gaze upon the person who touched it.


(CB2 basic information video - in Japanese)

CB2 is a prototype research robot; the intent is to provide roboticists with additional experience so they can create even more lifelike machines. According to the team's project leader, this "soft" robot technology will be used in robots that can better assist us in our daily lives. The next step is to develop a version of CB2 with the vocabulary and cognitive skills of a three year-old.

I'm not sure why the movements of this robot strike me as being particularly eerie; I think there might be some kind of dissonance between the knowledge that this is a machine versus the feelings that are caused by its toddler-like movements. I've seen the Actroid DER2 robot in a "live" setting, and its movements seem strikingly human, rather than creepy. Take a look at the Korean android robot EveR-1 for another comparison.

See a somewhat longer CB2 child-robot video. Via CB2 baby humanoid robot and Soft Touch Child Robot.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/4/2007)

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