TOPAround Asia: Robot gives Japanese lessons and acts on stage in Vietnam

Around Asia: Robot gives Japanese lessons and acts on stage in Vietnam

By Alec Jordan

Geminoid F, a humanoid robot, taught Japanese classes in Hanoi, Vietnam, after performing a scene from a short play alongside real actors.

The android, which looks exactly like the woman it was modelled after, taught coversational Japanese phrases to about 40 students.

Geminoid F can mimic human facial expressions by using air pressure in 12 places on the android’s face, making it seem as if the students were talking to a real teacher.

“People are less nervous around androids at first than when they meet strangers. They think of the androids intimately,” said professor Hiroshi Ishiguro, a world-renowned robotics specialist at the Osaka University.

The robot was controlled by a Japanese teacher located in another room.

This technology would allow humans to control Geminoid F over the internet, so classes can be conducted from Japan or any other locations outside Hanoi.

Last month, Geminoid F performed “Sayonara,” a 30-minute play by internationally acclaimed playwright and director Oriza Hirata.

Ishiguro developed Geminoid F in 2010 and exhibited in numerous countries including Austria, France, Germany, Italy, United States, Australia, South Korea and Thailand.

The event in Vietnam was hosted by the Japan Foundation Center for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam, a local branch of the Japan Foundation aimed at promoting the learning of Japanese in the country.

By: Maesie Bertumen

Image of Robosem, a teaching robot being tested in Korea: Chris Chesher/Flickr