Vol.4 No.2 2011

Research paper−87−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.4 No.2 pp.87-98 (Oct. 2011) of humanoids, where the robots are made to perform certain acts to be viewed and heard by an audience. There are many thoughts on how such performances could be used, but seen from the technological perspective, many performances can be captured within the framework of “content technology”. Here, “content” means a set of information and experiences that may be valuable to the audience, viewer, or consumer. If the humanoid can be used as an expression of contents, this can be called the “content technology” that supports the expression and execution of the contents.Humanoids possess potential attractiveness as an assembly of the content technologies. In fact, “the ability to enchant people”, as mentioned above, is directly linked to the value of the contents. The robot is a machine that is controlled by a computer, and it is possible to do things that flesh-and-blood humans cannot do in the production, expression, and execution of the contents, such as combining with various information technologies and implementing special physical functions. Since most of the contents that people demand are geared to humans, the humanoids are more befitting in terms of general interest contents compared to the robots with non-human forms.The above characteristic overlaps with the character animation in computer graphics (CG). In fact, the CG characters are utilized in various forms, and are becoming essential parts of the content technology. The robots are distinct from CG characters in that they are entities in the 1 Humanoid robot as content technologyAmong several types of robots, the humanoid robot enchants people, because of the sense of wonder created by the fact that an artifact made in the image of humans can actually move like a human, the expectation that it may take over the various tasks like a human, and because it has been referenced in various works of fiction. Driven by this fascination, various humanoids have been developed. In 1996, Honda developed the P2, a life-size humanoid capable of bipedal walking[1], and the development of humanoids have become active ever since. These robots made frequent appearances in public events and the media, and as a result, the expectation for the practical utilization of humanoids has increased.One of the applications of robots for which people have high expectations is to have the robot assist various tasks in everyday activities, and there have been many researches on humanoids to fulfill this demand[2][3]. If the objective is to freely move around within the human environment and to use the tools and devices that humans use, it rationally follows that the robot should have a similar form as humans. However, there is a large gap between the ability of the tasks that people expect from robots and the current technological level of robots, and at this moment the practical utilization in this direction is no where in sight.However, there is a great potential for the practical utilization - Realization of a biped humanoid robot allowing content creators to produce various expressions-A significant feature of humanoid robots is their potential to make various expressions as humans do, and this feature will allow the use of humanoid robots as assemblies of content technologies. Technical issues required for the practical use of humanoid robots are discussed in terms of robot hardware, motion expression generation, vocal expression generation and integrated GUI (Graphical User Interface), and the development of technologies to solve the issues and their integration have been carried out. As a result, we have produced HRP- 4C, a life-size biped humanoid robot with realistic human-like appearance, and Choreonoid, an integrated software interface that allows us to choreograph motions with robots as done with CG characters. Experiments on creating contents with these technologies verified the potential of humanoid robots as assemblies of content technologies.Toward the use of humanoid robots as assemblies of content technologiesKeywords : Biped humanoid robots, content technology, entertainment, cybernetic human HRP-4C, motion creation, key pose, Choreonoid, VOCALOID[Translation from Synthesiology, Vol.4, No.2, p.80-91 (2011)]Shin’ichiro Nakaoka*, Kanako Miura, Mitsuharu Morisawa, Fumio Kanehiro, Kenji Kaneko, Shuuji Kajita and Kazuhito YokoiIntelligent Systems Research Institute, AIST Tsukuba Central 2, 1-1-1 Umezono, Tsukuba 305-8563, Japan * E-mail: Original manuscript received November 8, 2010, Revisions received February 21, 2011, Accepted March 7, 2011


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