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Syllabus

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Name

Robot Actors Project "Hataraku Watashi (I, Worker)"

***"QuickTime" is necessary to watch the video.

Purpose

Department of Systems Innovation in the Graduate school of engineering, at Osaka University collaborated with Eager Co., Ltd. and worked on PBL (Project based on learning) in cooperation with the Center of the study of Communication-Design.  This video is part of its achievement which was presented at Kaitokudo for the 21 Century.
This project is an entertainment show by Robot actors and is positioned as a demo experiment of robot communication at the same time.

Communication and service robots are trying to fit in to human society.  However, the feeling that they are foreign bodies can’t be eliminated because of their awkward movement.  This is attributed to the gap between the human beings’ image of robots and the functions robots have.
The purpose of the Robot Actors Project is to show people the relationship they can have with robots that will be introduced for practical use in the near future, to make the image of robots more concrete, and to evaluate motion design as a new type of product design that will be important in areas outside of just robots.

Content

ロボットと人間が当たり前に共存するようになった時代。

“I, Worker”
Set in an age where robots and human beings live side-by-side normally, Mr. & Mrs. Mayama live with two robots named Takeo and Momoko.  Momoko cooks and makes desserts.  She is an indispensable presence for the Mayamas.  On the other hand, Takeo is…
This video makes us think of “what it is like to work” through the situation where a robot made to serve people cannot work.  This is a totally new unknown play.

Collaborators

*Director, script, staging:  Oriza Hirata, Professor, Center of the study of Communication-Design, Osaka University, Presidency of drama group “Seinendan”
*Technical adviser:  Hiroshi Ishiguro, Professor, Department of Systems Innovation, Graduate school of engineering, Osaka University
*Robots’ director, producer: Kazunari Kuroki, Chairman, Eager Co., Ltd.
*Robot provider: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.
*Actors: “Agora” kikaku

Cast Takeo(Robot A: Wakamaru, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.)
Momoko(Robot B: Wakamaru, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd.)
Yuji Mayama: Hiroshi Ohta, Drama Group “Seinendan”
Ikue Mayama: Minako Inoue, Drama Group “Seinendan” 
Video Provider Courtesy of Mr. Kazuhiro Sohda, Laboratory X, Inc.
Comments

【Professor Hiroshi ISHIGURO】
I have worked on developing robots who have relationships with human beings for nearly 10 years; during these years, we have focused on demonstration experiments to use robots in a real society, developing them in our laboratory.  However, even if we let robots out into the world, people face the problem of how to effectively use them.
Of course, we teach people how to use them, but our ideal is to make a natural relationship between human beings and robots that can be obtained without teaching.
This gap is born from the difference between the robots in movies and actual robots’ functions. People try to relate to robots, imagining the robots in movies, so in other words, we need something to fill in the gap between the development in the laboratory and demonstration experiments in the real world.  That is the Robot Actors Project.  When I heard one of my friends, who is an artist, say the stage is the testing site, I realized we’ve been forgetting to show people through plays how to make a relationship with a robot through the stage.
When I was thinking about it, I met Mr. Kuroki who would like to do business by using robot contents and Professor Hirata who makes realistic sensations I have not experienced before in his play.  I am sure our project would open up a new field where art, technique, and business fuse together.

【Professor Oriza HIRATA】
When I had a chat with the President of Osaka University, Kiyokazu Washida, he asked me if we can do something interesting at our university; I told him I would like to present a play with robots.  He immediately introduced me to Professor Asada and Professor Ishiguro, who are the leading minds behind Robot Engineering that Osaka University is proud of. 
After meeting them, the development of the project was surprisingly quick; I take pride in the fact that it was just the time for me to be involved with robotics.
In this project, Professor Ishiguro’s and I had similar ideas about the issues involved; our work made good progress without detailed explanations.  Our idea is as follows:  “At a expo, people admire robots, but they are not moved.  Let’s make art which moves people.”  I already felt a good response during rehearsal. The only thing I can do is to pray the robots work without a problem on the day of the performance. 
This project produced a strong reaction in the community when it was announced.  A variety of offers came from art exhibitions and theater festivals.  We would like to improve this project and make it sustainable to work on a commercial basis and open a new art field with robots.  My wish is to break ground for a new genre of expression and make it the killer contents for a renaissance in Osaka where we have the traditional art “Bunraku”.
We might create a new culture, which is called “Robot”.

【Mr. Kazunari KUROKI, Eager Co., Ltd.】
What is a robot?  A moving mannequin? Home electric appliance? Or Speaking PC?
I think a robot is none of these.  However, unprecedented feeling was born for robots.  I have worked on developing useful electrical appliances for nearly 20 years.  When we think of robots as an electric appliance in a broad sense, there exists nothing as potentially influential as robots because they have been personified and we can easily empathize with them.  If we send them into real society without the proper mental preparedness, I guess people just get confused with them.
Meanwhile, I met Professor Ishiguro who has studied robotics for a long time; we started to research the relationship between people and robots and technologies, and we will use the stage as a proving ground.  A play is a deformation of everyday life, so, the data we get on the stage can be fed back to the development of robots.  In addition, we can convey the relationship between people and robots and their usage to people because of the uniqueness of the play.  This time, we got help from Professor Hirata, who expresses the vibration of feelings and the change of emotions in a script that is full of realistic sensations.  I hope we can figure out how the speaking timing and the movement of the robots has an affect on people, the relationship with robots we empathize with, and what a robot is, through the Robot Actors Project.

Copyright 2010, 寄稿する作者による. 引用/出所元. Syllabus. (2009, February 18). Retrieved December 10, 2018, from Osaka University Open Course Ware Web site: http://ocw.osaka-u.ac.jp/engineering/robot-actors-project/syllabus. この作品は次のライセンスによっています: Creative Commons License Creative Commons License