Photo in the News: Female Android Debuts in S. Korea

Android EveR-1 photo
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May 15, 2006—She can hold a conversation, make eye contact, and express joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness. But is she good with kids?

These school-age tots seem to be making friends with EveR-1, a female android that made her debut this month in South Korea. The robot was built by Baeg Moon-hong, a senior researcher with the Division for Applied Robot Technology at the Korea Institute of Industrial Technology (KITECH) in Ansan, just south of Seoul (see a map of South Korea).

EveR-1 is designed to resemble a Korean female in her early 20s, according to a KITECH press release. Fifteen motors underneath her silicon skin allow her to express a limited range of emotions, and a 400-word vocabulary enables her to hold a simple conversation.

The android weighs 110 pounds (50 kilograms) and would stand 5 feet, 3 inches (160 centimeters) tall—if she could stand. EveR-1 can move her arms and hands, but her lower half is immobile.

Researchers at Osaka University in Japan unveiled their own life-size female android, Repliee Q1, last June (see a related photo of the ultra-lifelike robot). That robot could "speak," and gesture and even appeared to breathe but, like EveR-1, was only mobile from the waist up.

KITECH scientists are now working on EveR-2, which they say will have improved vision, a wider range of facial expressions, and the ability to stand and move all four limbs.

—Victoria Gilman

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