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Geminoid-F Android Waits for a Friend in a Tokyo Department Store
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Geminoid-F Android Waits for a Friend in a Tokyo Department Store

If you go to the Takashimaya department store in Shinjuku, Tokyo, by Valentines Day, you will be able to see the Geminoid-F android casually sitting in a show window, looking as if it's waiting for a friend.

Geminoid-F has been programmed with basic emotions and behaviors. It uses them as models to create expressions and actions based on what's happening around it.

"We're always looking for places where androids could be utilized. Show windows normally use mannequins, but ideally, that wouldn't be the case. It would be better to have actual fashion models there because that would make the clothes look great. But in reality, a model can't spend all day in a show window. Mannequins though, don't really look like people. So we think androids are a great match for the purpose of show windows."

This android was developed by Professor Ishiguro. He previously created the Android Theater, where androids and human actors perform together. Now, by using androids in show windows, he's studying how people react to them, and whether using them like this is practical.

"A theater is a closed world, with androids playing roles in front of 200 to 300 people at a time. But now, tens of thousands of people are likely to see Geminoid-F on weekends. I'd like to test how far people accept the presence of androids in an open setting."

"The foundation of this android's actions are waves of emotion. On top of these waves of emotion, 65 different actions are triggered in line with its sensor data. So even if you watch it for a long time, the story you see will always be different. Here, the android doesn't speak, but it tells a story through the movements of its eyes, head, and face. So I think some people may really come to love it."

The android moves naturally, as if it's patiently waiting for someone. So it doesn't continually react to people. But sometimes, it will return your smile.

"Think of the android as an ordinary person. Treat it as if it's a person sitting there in the usual way. If you react as you normally would to a sitting person, the android will react. But if you pester it too much, it'll ignore you. I think it would be fun to imagine what the android might be feeling while you're watching it."

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