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Hiroshi Ishiguro has just unveiled his latest android. As you may remember from his interview with the Robots Podcast or from previous news reports, Ishiguro is a professor at Osaka University very well known for his ultra-realistic humanoids.
However, unlike his previous creations, his new android does not duplicate the appearance of a specific human. Instead, the child-sized "Telenoid R1" only mimics basic human features like eyes, a nose and lips, but it is of a uniform grey colour, its head is bald, and its limbs are only stumps.
Even its creator is quick to admit that the new robot looks eerie. However, he is sure that once the telenoid is used to communicate through it with another person, its abstract shape makes it easy to imagine the friend’s face on the telenoid’s face, and to feel the friend's embrace by embracing the telenoid. Ishiguro expects the robot to have applications in remote work, remote education, and elderly care.
Following a demonstration at this year's Ars Electronica festival in Linz, Austria, a research version will go on sale for USD 35000. The commercial version of the Telenoid R1 will cost about USD 8000.
Have a look at the detailed post of our friends over at the Automaton forum for more info.