Vol.4 No.2 2011

Research paper : Toward the use of humanoid robots as assemblies of content technologies (S. Nakaoka et al.)−88−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.4 No.2 (2011) real world. This allows a sense of reality and involvement as well as physical interaction that is not possible with CG characters.We believe that the use of humanoids in the content technology is a valuable application that allows optimization of its characteristics, and therefore we must engage in such a realization. As accomplished by the digital content technologies such as CG, computer music, and game devices, contents with new values can be created, and the industries of related technologies can be vitalized. If the humanoids can be widely utilized in such applications, continued investments can be expected, and that may lead to the development of other applications including the aforementioned support of daily human activities.2 Objectives and issues of the researchThe contents featuring humanoids did exist before. The technical demonstrations of the state-of-art humanoid were one such example, as the audiences were surprised and entertained by some specific actions of the humanoid. However, these were basically created by the robot developers and focused on the technological prowess of the robot. Also, it did not have the value or the breadth that would create sufficient income.In practice, the producer of the contents should be the “creators” who are the specialists of content production. The “establishment of the content technology of the humanoids” is to be able to incorporate the humanoids into the contents that are created by the creators of various fields, to express things that do not merely fall in the realm of robot technology. Unless this is achieved, the humanoids are unlikely to be used widely, as seen from the situation of the current content technology. However, the conventional humanoids and the peripheral technologies were not realistically usable for the creators due to the difficulty of use and the limitations of expressions.The objectives of this research are to improve the situation by developing, integrating and verifying the elemental technologies that would be the foundation and to set a path for the commercialization of the humanoids as a content technology.We set the following technological issues as those we must solve.Robot hardwareDevelop a life-size, bipedal humanoid with human-like appearance throughout the body, as hardware with expressive ability unseen before.Motion expression support technologyCreate a technology as a method for generating diverse motion expressions, to enable choreography of the whole body movement of the bipedal humanoid through operation similar to the key frame animation for the CG characters.Voice expression support technologyIncorporate the voice synthesis technology to enable the easy creation of the diverse expressions of speaking and singing, along with the movement of the mouth.Integrated interfaceDevelop a software interface that enables integration of the above technologies and the current information and content technologies.To solve these issues, it is necessary to engage comprehensively in the development, selection and integration of the various elemental technologies as shown in Fig. 1.After overcoming these technological issues, another important issue of this research is to verify whether the expressions produced by a creator who is not a robot researcher are acknowledged as new contents unseen before. By combining the technological foundations that we created and the ideas and skills of the creator, it is possible to pioneer diverse contents utilizing the humanoid. This is our expected scenario.In this paper, we describe the individual technological issues, the background for setting them and the technologies that were actually developed and integrated to solve the issues. Then the work on the verification of the technologies as well Fig. 1 Outline of researchPioneering of various contentsusing humanoid robotsCreator (specialist of content creation)Application to robotsCG character key frame animationLip synching systemVoice/singing synthesis systemVoice expression support technologyDevelopment framework for integrated interface Integrated interfaceDynamics simulatorWhole body choreography systemMotion expression support technologyWalking stabilization controlLife-size biped motionAppearance close to humansHumanoid robot with high expressive ability


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