An android is a robot designed to resemble a human, usually both in appearance and behavior. The word derives from ανδρός, the genitive of the Greek ανήρ anēr, meaning “man,” and the suffix -eides, used to mean “of the species; alike” (from eidos, “species”). Though the word derives from a gender-specific root, its usage in English is usually gender neutral; the female counterpart, gynoid, is generally used only when the female gender is a distinguishing trait of the robot.
The term was first mentioned by St. Albertus Magnus in 1270 and was popularized by the French writer Villiers in his 1886 novel L’Ève future, although the term “android” appears in US patents as early as 1863 in reference to miniature humanlike toy automations. Thus far, androids have largely remained within the domain of science fiction, frequently seen in film and television. The world’s first Android DER 01 was developed by Japanese research group. The Intelligent Robotics Lab, directed by Hiroshi Ishiguro at Osaka University, and Kokoro Co., Ltd. have demonstrated the Actroid at Expo 2005 in Aichi Prefecture, Japan.
In 2006, Kokoro Co. developed a new DER 2 android. The height of the human body part of DER2 is 165 cm. There are 47 mobile points. DER2 can not only change its expression but also move its hands and feet and twist its body. The “air servosystem” which Kokoro Co. developed originally is used for the actuator. As a result of having an actuator controlled precisely with air pressure via a servosystem, the movement is very fluent and there is very little noise. DER2 realized a slimmer body than that of the former version by using a smaller cylinder. Outwardly DER2 has a more beautiful proportion.
Compared to the previous model, DER2 has thinner arms and a wider repertoire of expressions. The smoothness of her movement has also been improved, making it now even more likely for the uninitiated to confuse her with an actual human being. Once programmed, she is able to choreograph her motions and gestures with her voice. The Intelligent Mechatronics Lab, directed by Kobayashi at the Science University of Tokyo, has developed an android head called Saya, which was exhibited at Robodex 2002 in Yokohama, Japan. There are several other initiatives around the world involving humanoid research and development at this time, which will hopefully introduce a broader spectrum of realized technology in the near future.
It is capable of changing its face. At first, the creators decided the position of the necessary points to express the outline, eyes, nose, and so on of a certain person. The robot expresses his/her face by moving all points to the decided positions, they say. The first version of the robot was first developed back in 2003. After that, a year later, they did a couple of major improvements in the design.
The robot features an elastic mask made from the average head dummy. It uses a driving system with a 3DOF unit. The WD-2 robot can change its facial features by activating specific facial points on a mask, with each point possessing three degrees of freedom.