Robot Model Hits the Runway


What appeared to be petite woman in an elaborate wedding dress walked slowly down the runway in an Osaka fashion show earlier this week. The twist is that this was no blushing bride; this was the HRP-4C female robot.

Though encumbered by an elaborate wedding dress, HRP-4C easily navigated the ten meter runway at the fashion show. Developed by Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, the female humanoid robot stands just 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs a mere 95 pounds - batteries included. The robot has highly realistic facial features, and is able to use facial motions and arm movements to indicate basic emotions, such as anger and surprise.

HRP-4C robot developer Kazuhito Yokoi expressed the feelings of many when he said “Like the father of a bride, I feel both happy and sad.”

Science fiction writer Fritz Lieber foresaw this development when he wrote the following in his 1954 short story Mechanical Bride:

"Streamlined, smooth-working, absolutely noiseless, breath-takingly realistic. Each one is powered by thirty-seven midget electric motors, all completely noiseless, and is controlled by instructions, recorded on magnetic tape, which are triggered off by the sound of your voice and no one else's. There is a built-in microphone that hears everything you say, and an electric brain that selects a suitable answer. The de luxe model is built to your specifications, has fifty different facial expressions, sings two hundred love songs, and can carry on a thousand fascinating conversations..."

This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission of

Bill Christensen catalogues the inventions, technology and ideas of science fiction writers at his website, Technovelgy. He is a contributor to Live Science.