Monday, March 16, 2009

HRP-4C Female Fashion Robot

Today, Japanese robot designers showed off a new robot that will soon be strutting her stuff down a fashion runway.  The HRP-4C.

The humanoid, girlie-faced robot with slightly over sized eyes (Manga style).  A tiny nose, shoulder length hair and boasting 42 motion motors programmed to mimic the movements of flesh and blood fashion models.  

She greeted the audience at the National Industrial Science and Technology outside of Tokyo by saying, "Hello everybody, I am cybernetic human HRP-4C." The "fashion-bot" is five feet, two inches (158 centimeters) tall - which happens to be the average height of Japanese women aged 19 to 29, but weighing in at 95 pounds (43 kilograms) - that includes the batteries.

While her face is manga-inspired, she has a silver metallic body. "If we had made the robot too similar to a real human, it would have been uncanny." Shuji Kajita, one of the inventors, told reporters. "We have deliberately leaned toward an anime style."

The institute said the robot "has been developed mainly for use in the entertainment industry."  But it is not for sale at the moment.  

The "fashion-bot" hammed it up for the photographers and television crews, the seductive cyborg struck poses, flashing smiles at her audience.  Pouted when commanded to do so via bluetooth devices.  

This preview was just a warm-up for her appearance at a Tokyo fashion show scheduled for March 23, 2009.

Projected price for this class of robot is around two million dollars. 

Now for my observations... When the Japanese can reduce the costs to a more favorible range for the greater masses, these things will take off.  These things first and formost are to help the Japanese with their aging population for such things like elder care in nursing homes and companionship.  But, the unwritten (or unspoken) idea behind these things is a tried and true staple of science fiction.  

Sex-bots!  I give you example number one.  In the new version of Battlestar Galactica, the human-looking cylons and especially the blonde known as the "Six" model, played by actress Tricia Helfer.  For those of us old enough to remember how quickly prices for VCRs came down once the mainline movie industry (and the porn industry too) got into making tapes and selling them.  

The same will be true for the sex-bots which in turn will bring down the costs for humanoid (and human size) robots to the general public.  Then, while all that is taking place, keep updating the the Laws of Robotics as put forward by Isaac Asimov.  And for those of us who need a reminder of what they are, here is the wikipedia link to them ( ). 

And this will bring up a interesting question about copyright laws reguarding the looks of a actor/actress, or regular person off the street.  Lets have a what if?  Rich guy wants a sex-bot of actress Tricia Helfer.  She has the copyright to her appearance and the production company has the right to "Six."  

Now lets look at this problem.  Same rich guy wants a sex-bot of a old girlfriend that he had a fling with in college and he has photos so that the robot company and build him his old girlfriend.  But that was 20 years in the past and now that same woman is a politican.  And images of this old rich guy and his "robot" toy gets out, and affects this woman's chances at re-election. 

What is the legal recourse for both of them? That will be interesting to see in the coming decades.
Ref.: Fashion robot to hit Japan catwalk.  March 16, 2009. ( url ( 

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