Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

The Fashion Robot

It might have the diet of a model — and at 95 lb. (43 kg), the weight — but at 5 ft. 2 in. (1.6 m), the HRP-4C robot model lacks the height of the Giseles and Naomis of catwalk fame. That didn't stop the HRP-4C from making its debut in March, modeling a wedding dress by designer Yumi Katsura on its black-and-silver frame. Researchers at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology developed the $2 million HRP-4C, which is equipped with doelike eyes and shoulder-length hair, as well as sound-recognition sensors and motors in her face to mimic human expressions. But with the HRP-4C's unusually long arms, rigid gait and expected price of about $200,000, flesh-and-blood models needn't worry about losing their jobs to futuristic fashionistas quite yet.