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Robots could soon be gracing the catwalk, thanks to a black-haired cybernetic beauty who is preparing to make her debut at a fashion show in Japan.
Fetchingly named HRP-4C, the humanoid has 30 motors in her body that allows her to walk and move her arms as well as eight motors on its face to create expressions like anger and surprise.
In a demonstration the robot tottered out, blinking, and said, ‘Hello, everyone,’ in a tiny feminine voice while its mouth moved.
Weighing just 6st and 9pounds she is light enough to fit into the size 0 crowd. However, the robot’s developers are doubtful HRP-4C currently makes the grade as a fashionista.
During the display she kept looking surprised, opening its mouth and eyes in a stunned expression, when the demonstrator had asked it to smile or look angry.
Her walk was also not quite ready for the Paris Collection, partly because she must keep her knees bent the whole time. The robot has sensors in its feet but lacks the sensitive balance of a real human.
‘Technologically, it hasn’t reached that level,’ said Hirohisa Hirukawa, from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.
‘Even as a fashion model, people in the industry told us she was short and had a rather ordinary figure.’
The developers said the big challenge in creating the robot was making the small ‘feminine’ parts.
HRP-4C is 5ft2″ and was designed to look like an average Japanese woman, although she is clothed in what appears to be a silver and black space-suit.
Watch HRP-4C in action here…
She has yet to clear safety standards to share the catwalk with human models, so will appear in her own special section in a Tokyo fashion show next week.
The robotic framework for the HRP-4C without the face and other coverings will go on sale for about 20 million yen (£150,000) each.
The robot costs £150,000
The programming technology will be made public so other people can come up with fun moves for the robot, the scientists said.
Japan boasts one of the leading robotics industries in the world, and the government is pushing to develop the industry as a road to growth.
Automaker Honda Motors has developed Asimo, which can walk and talk, although it doesn’t pretend to look human.
Other robots, like the ones from Hiroshi Kobayashi at the Tokyo University of Science and Hiroshi Ishiguro at Osaka University, have more human-like faces and have been tested as receptionists.
But demands are growing for socially useful robots, such as those for caring for the elderly and the sick, said Yoshihiro Kaga, a government official in the trade and industry ministry.
‘We want this market to grow as an industry,’ he said.