The Robot That Loves Hello Kitty

Posted on October 6, 2006

Pink Tentacle reports that Sanrio, the company that owns the license to Hello Kitty, has now created a female robot.
Kokoro, a Sanrio Group company specializing in the design and manufacture of robots, unveiled its new Actroid DER2 feminine guide robot at Sanrio headquarters in Tokyo on October 4.

Actroid DER2 is an upgraded version of Kokoro's previous fembot, Actroid DER, who has made quite a name for herself by providing services at a number of events, including the 2005 World Expo. Compared to the previous model, DER2 has thinner arms and a wider repertoire of expressions. The smoothness of her movement has also been improved, making it now even more likely for the uninitiated to confuse her with an actual human being.

Actroid's limbs, torso and facial expressions are controlled by a system of actuators powered by pneumatic pressure. Once programmed, she is able to choreograph her motions and gestures with her voice.

Kokoro intends to rent Actroid DER2 to companies and events. The basic rental fee is expected to be 400,000 yen (US$3,500) for 5 days, plus extra fees for technical support, delivery and choreography changes. For those who can't cope with a sayonara after 5 days, there is a late fee of 80,000 yen per day.
You can watch Actroid DER2 on a YouTube video here. First off, she needs a better name than Actroid DER2. Second, her hands are way too big -- they look like linebacker's hands. Other than that, she appears to work pretty well.

One thing's for sure: the Japanese are kicking our butts in robot technology. You never see weekly robot reports in the U.S., which is probably why no one here seems to realize that most manual labor will be done by robots within twenty-five years. We can't wait!

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