Jack/ETL-Humanoid Photo

Looking into the eyes of Jack the robot, Gordon Cheng (above) tests its response to the touch of his hand. researchers at the Electrotechnical Lab at Tsukuba, an hour away from Tokyo, are part of a project funded by the Japanese Science and Technology Agency to develop a humanoid robot as a research vehicle into complex human interactions. With the nation's population rapidly againg, the Japanese government is increasingly funding efforts to create robots that will help the elderly. Project leader Yasuo Kuniyoshi wants to create robots that are friendly and quite literally soft - the machinery will be sheathed in thick padding. In contrast to a more traditional approach, Kuniyoshi wants to program his robot to make it learn by analyzing and fully exploiting its natural constraints - unlike Honda's humanoid robot in which every movement is completely planned, and rigid control forces the system to follow the commanded trajectory. The robot's lower torso, seated nearby with legs crossed, seems to be waiting patiently for this day.

Origin of Name
Robin Williams's character in the movie Jack (5-year-old boy's brain in the body of 40-year-old man
Hardware Designer
Akihiko Nagakubo
Eye Designer
Fuminori Saito
For the study of continuous complex human/humanoid interactions, and the derivation of software/hardware mechanisms required from a globally integrated view
Approximately 1.6 m
Approximately 60 kg
Stereo vision, CCD video cameras
Binaural auditory microphone system, joint receptors (proprioception)
Frame Composition
Mostly aluminum

Not yet determined
Overall cost (including integration is way over $1 million
Project Status
Information Source
Yasuo Kuniyoshi