Vol.4 No.2 2011
Research paper : Toward the use of humanoid robots as assemblies of content technologies (S. Nakaoka et al.)−94−Synthesiology - English edition Vol.4 No.2 (2011) the great response on the Internet, we received several offers for appearances of HRP-4C from various places including overseas. This showed that the expression created by the creator using the technology in this study was recognized as a totally new content, and demonstrated the effectiveness of our scenario.The entry of the key poses on the Choreonoid was done by one of the authors, and the time required for entry was about 80 hours. A rather large amount of time was required for the three-minute performance, but this was mainly because the person did not have any experience creating CG character animation. Needless to say, verification by professional creators, including the key pose entry work, is necessary and we plan to have professional CG creators work directly on Choreonoid to create the contents.8 Future prospectsSince the press release in March 2009, HRP-4C has received requests and suggestions for its use from various places. It gave the opening speech in the “SHINMAI Creator’s Project” of the 8th Japan Fashion Week in Tokyo held in March 2009, was a model for the wedding dress in Yumi Katsura Paris Grand Collection in Osaka held in July 2009, and dressed up as a VOCALOID character such as “Hatsune Miku” and gave singing demonstrations at the Yamaha Corporation booth in CEATEC JAPAN 2009 in September 2009.What is significant here is that the requests from the general public for HRP-4C do not stop at asking the robot developer to operate the robot, but are active requests where the requesters propose what they wish the robot to perform. This was unseen in the previous robots such as HRP-2, and in this sense, the strategy for the form and appearance of the robot mentioned in subchapter 3.1 was successful.With the motion expression and voice expression support technologies that were developed in this study, the contents utilizing the expressive ability of the humanoid, as in the dance at the DC-EXPO 2010, became possible, and we are now able to respond to the various proposals for the use of HRP-4C. To verify this further, we believe we must continue the work, as mentioned in chapter 7, with several creators.While engaging in such promotional activities, there are still many things that must be done technologically. In the area of bipedal motion, movements that include sliding and jumping as well as more human-like walking with the knees straight cannot be done in the current Choreonoid, but these are necessary to increase the range and quality of the contents. While there are examples where such motions are accomplished individually-, the creation of movements that freely combine these elements still remains as a difficult issue.The improvement of autonomy is an issue necessary to present a more natural motion. For example, the movement of the eyes must be automated to look more natural. In striking a pose, rather than stopping completely, it will look more natural if slight swaying was generated automatically.Further improvements are necessary in the robot technology as a whole. The robot must move adaptively to the surrounding environment in some contents, and research results on environmental recognition and motion planning based on it or on human interactions are needed. Also, in contents that require use of props, manipulation ability is necessary.The various technologies for the robot can be developed one step at a time as the contents are created. Therefore, the effort of pioneering the contents using the humanoid is effective in developing the robotics technology and applying them to industry. If the ability of the robot increases as a result, the path to the practical use of humanoids outside the content technology, including daily activity support, may be opened.With the above experience behind us, we plan to continue the R&D for the humanoid as a content technology.AcknowledgementsThe development of HRP-4C was conducted as part of the “Development of User Centered Robot Open Architecture (UCROA)”, AIST Innovative Research Initiative, an AIST-industry-academia collaborative project. The development of Choreonoid was based on the “motion pattern design tool” developed with the support of NEDO “Development Project for Intelligent Technologies of Next-Generation Robots”.For the execution of the UCROA Project, we received great support from Hirohisa Hirukawa, director of the Intelligent Systems Research Institute, AIST and Junji Ito, former vice-president of AIST. We received useful comments from Kiyoshi Fujiwara, Kensuke Harada, Takeshi Sakaguchi, Hitoshi Arisumi, Nobuyuki Kita, Isao Hara and Tokuo Tsuji of AIST, as well as Neo Ee Sian, formerly of AIST. The content for the DC-EXPO 2010 was produced through the cooperation of: Masaru Ishikawa, researcher, Information and Robot Technology Research Initiative, The University of Tokyo; SAM, choreographer; Osamu Oshima, Hideki Kenmochi, Makoto Tachibana of Yamaha Corporation; and many other people.NotesNote 1) This is a term that denotes a humanoid robot that has an appearance and form similar to humans, is capable of walking and moving in a manner extremely close to humans, and is capable of interaction with people using voice recognition and other functions.