Robot takes to the runway at Japan fashion show

Multimillion dollar robot makes an appearance but won't be putting models out of a job anytime soon

A multimillion dollar robot made its anticipated appearance at a Japanese fashion show on Monday but its stiff performance means runway models have a few more years before they need worry about being replaced by technology.

The HRP-4C robot appeared at the start of a show highlighting the work of up-and-coming designers and began with a small bow. It then mimed an introduction that was played over loudspeakers in the hall, then paused, turned and walked off.

The appearance was a little bit of an anticlimax. Ever since its developers, Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, said last week that it would be appearing in a fashion show many have been expecting to see it stride down the runway modeling the latest fashions.

On Monday it wasn't even wearing any clothes.

Instead its grey plastic body armor -- almost universally likened to that of a Star Wars' Stormtrooper by reporters -- was all it was showing off.

The HRP-4C is the latest development in an ongoing government research project into humanoid robots.

Its shape is supposed to match that of the average Japanese woman, weighing 43 kilograms -- including the battery -- and measuring 158 centimeters in height, and it packs some high-intelligence that enables it to walk smoothly.

So despite its ability to function without ever eating and never having to worry about putting on weight, it's not going to be taking jobs from supermodel Kate Moss anytime soon.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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