Japan's latest supermodel--a robot

Designed to look like an average Japanese woman, an awkward girlbot named HRP-4C will make its catwalk debut at a Tokyo fashion show.

HRP-4C
The new Japanese humanoid robot HRP-4C displays a range of emotions (good luck discerning what they are) during a press conference in suburban Tokyo this week. Naturally, plenty of paparazzi were on hand. AFP Photo/Yoshikazu Tsuno

She doesn't have the grace of a Cindy Crawford or Elle MacPherson (yet), but a few struts on the catwalk may help HRP-4C loosen up and hit her stride. The walking, talking girlbot will be getting practice soon, as she's set to make her catwalk debut at a Tokyo fashion show next week.

Scientists from Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology reportedly designed the 5-foot (ish), dark-haired creation to look like an average Japanese woman between the ages of 19 and 29. Unlike the average Japanese woman, however, HRP-4C has 30 motors in her body that allow her to walk and move its arms (somewhat loudly and awkwardly, if the video below is any indication) and 8 facial motors for blinking, smiling, and expressing emotions akin to anger and surprise.

According to the Associated Press, the robotic framework for the HRP-4C, sans face and other coverings, will sell for about $200,000, and the technology behind it will eventually be made public so people can come up their own moves for the bot.

The government-backed AIST says she's mostly being developed for the entertainment industry--for use in amusement parks, for example, or as an exercise teacher--and is not yet ready to help with daily chores. So unfortunately for those eager to hire HRP-4C as a home or office assistant, for now at least, her main job is to look pretty--or odd, depending on your perspective.

 

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