Development of a Research Platform Android “ERICA”
Toward the Realization of Autonomous Conversational Androids Capable of Natural Conversation
A research group at Osaka University, led by Hiroshi ISHIGURO (Distinguished Professor, Graduate School of Engineering Science), together with researchers of Kyoto University and Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) developed a type of android (human-like robot) for research of autonomous conversational robot called “ERICA.”
One of the features ERICA has as a research platform is her appearance. Whereas the appearances of typical androids are modeled on existing people, ERICA’s appearance is made from computer graphics. With this synthesized appearance, ERICA has both human-like presence and the friendliness of robots, which make her more fitted for a conversational partner than real people or machine-like robots.
Another feature ERICA has is that various technologies for conversation that members of the group have developed, such as voice recognition, movement generation, and robot control, are integrated into her. By these technologies, ERICA can have a natural conversation in a limited situation.
ERICA currently has 19 pneumatic actuators; they move her body smoothly and are controlled by new servo valves that make only slight noise.
The group plans to use ERICA as a research platform to realize autonomous conversational androids by developing her appearance and movement.
Figure 1. Appearance of the android "ERICA"