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Description

This is the first and only book of portraits of android and humanoid robots. The robots in these photographs by Max Aguilera-Hellweg, a photojournalist for 40 years whose work has appeared in Life, NYT Magazine, Rolling Stone, Discover, Scientific American, Time, and National Geographic, are some of the most well known in the world of humanoid robotics. The photographs explore the many ways scientists and engineers are creating robots with human attributes, qualities, and abilities, and the means by which the robots engage us in what is known as human-robot interaction. The relationship of humans to robots can be as subtle as nonverbal communication; as intuitive as whether you should pass someone on the left or pass on the right to avoid sidewalk salsa; as intimate as developing an affectionate personal relationship with a machine, or as never before conceived of, but now as important as life and death―autonomous robots programmed for ethical decision making in the battlefield.

Author and photographer Max Aguilera-Hellweg has embarked on a journey through Japan and the United States to explore the turning point in the evolution of robot science, where robots are becoming more like humans, crossing the great divide between data processing and sentience.

Humanoid's breathtaking photographs present android robots designed to look and act like a human, beyond the imaginary Data from the TV series Star Trek, Pris, the replicant (played by Daryl Hannah) in the movie Blade Runner, or the "synths" of the hit TV series Humans. Some of the humanoid robots portrayed in this profound book, such as Bina48, Joey Chaos, and Geminoid-F have humanlike skin, hair, hands, even fingernails―they have been created to resemble with extreme accuracy an actual human being. Other humanoids are devoid of such external attributes but replicate the anatomy of a human―arms, legs, torso, a head and eyes―like, for example, the Terminator, not as Arnold Schwarzenegger but when he is all machine.

Some of Aguilera-Hellweg's photographs reveal the different ways robot scientists approach the same engineering and design problem. BioBiped1, for instance, a humanoid based on biomimetics, comprised of a torso and pair of legs, has joints and moving parts modeled on human biology and systems, harnessing what nature has solved. Another such humanoid, aptly named Vocal Robot, consists of a pair of artificial lungs and a vocal chord from which it speaks. During the creation of many of these photos, an hour-long documentary, Au Couer des Robots (In the Heart of Robots), was shot. The English-language version is in postproduction and will soon seek distribution here and internationally. Max Aguilera-Hellweg's astonishing, gorgeous photography open our eyes to this brave new world in which humanoid robots―exciting, thrilling, frightening to some, strange to others, controversial, lifesaving―will change our lives in countless ways.

Author: Max Aguilera-Hellweg
Publisher: Blast Books
Page Count: 96pp
Size: 9.25 x 11.25
Notes: hardcover, full color
Date of Publication: March 14, 2017
ISBN: 978-0922233472