The future is now
Anime has its share of cute robot girls, but Sweden's Furhat Robotics and Bandai Namco are no longer content to leave the concept as a fantasy. Together, they're creating a robotic anime girl... or her head, anyway.
Furhat Robotics is known for its development of robotic heads with rear-projected faces, allowing for more realistic expression. These "social robots" are already being used to help international travelers, conduct unbiased job interviews, and pre-screen patients for deadly diseases. With interchangeable custom face plates and easier to read expressions, Furhat's technology seems pretty prime for depicting our favorite characters.
The new project's Proof of Concept features Mirai Komachi, a Vocaloid persona created by Bandai Namco and released for the VOCALOID4 engine in May of last year. Bandai Namco's Creative Design Department manager, Shohei Nakanowatari, was apparently blown away by how well the macot transferred from art to robotics.
Check out Mirai Komachi in action:
Both companies are hopeful that this technology will lead to more inventive applications in future. Given the application of Furhat's social robots so far, it's an intriguing idea. In the near future, you might buy tickets to your favorite anime film with the help of one of the characters, or get directions around a theme park from one of its mascots.
Source: Furhat Robotics
Kara Dennison is a writer, editor, and interviewer with bylines at VRV, We Are Cult, Fanbyte, and many more. She is also the co-founder of Altrix Books and co-creator of the OEL light novel series Owl's Flower. Kara blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.