Good Sign? Toshiba Unveils Aiko the Communication Android

Japan's electronics giant Toshiba unveils the humanoid robot "Aiko Chihira" which demonstrates sign language at the CEATEC electronics trade show in Chiba, suburban Tokyo on October 7, 2014. YOSHIKAZU TSUNO / AFP - Getty Images

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Ever walk into a doctor's office and wish the smiling receptionist was replaced by a terrifying robot? Well, Toshiba could make those dreams come true with its new "communication android." Aiko Chihira (yes, it has a name) made its debut on Tuesday at Japan's massive CEATEC consumer electronics show. No need to flee to your robot apocalypse bunker; Aiko has "the appearance of a friendly young woman, an impression accentuated by blinking eyes and a warm smile," claimed Toshiba in a press release. So far, Aiko has mastered a few phrases in Japanese sign language thanks to an algorithm that coordinates the 43 motors in its joints. Toshiba plans to add additional sensors, speech recognition software and the ability to speak by 2020. The goal is to eventually build a mechanical companion for the elderly and those suffering from dementia. Tomorrow's senior citizens could also get a kick out of playing with this massive robot unveiled by Omron Corp., built to sustain long tennis table rallies with people who don't mind staring down machines straight out of "Robocop" in their rec room.



— Keith Wagstaff