Most Realistic Android Yet: Have We Passed the Bottom of the Uncanny Valley?

By Patrick Morgan | March 7, 2011 5:51 pm

The latest Geminoid robot is the most lifelike one yet, and yet I still think there’s something creepy about its glazed, deadbeat expression and evil (OK, I might be reading into it) side-long glance.

His name is Geminoid DK, and yes it’s a he: Henrik Scharfe of Denmark’s Aalborg University worked with Japan’s Kokoro entertainment company to create this avatar of himself. The android holds the distinction of being the first Geminoid modeled after a non-Japanese person (it’s also the first facial-haired bot of the lot).

Like DK’s Geminoid predecessors, he is controlled remotely via a motion-capture system: When Scharfe frowns, the robot frowns, and when he smiles, the robot smiles. In addition to facial expressions and lip movements, this Internet-linked robot also captures the professor’s body movements.

In the near future, Scharfe plans on testing his robotic twin on his university class before shipping it back to Denmark’s new Geminoid Lab for further tweaking.

Related Content:
80beats: The Latest Robot From Honda: A “Walking Assistant” to Push You Upstairs
80beats: Honda’s Mind-Controlled Robot Could Be Your Avatar in the Real World
Discoblog: In Japan, a Robot Works the Catwalk
DISCOVER 4 Robots That Are Saving the World

Image: Geminoid

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!
  • hat_eater

    We’re right in the middle of the uncanny valley, it moves about as naturally as the frog legs of Monsignore Galvani. On the other hand, from the middle of the valley the way goes up.
    Oh, and it’s just a mechanical test, I guess it looks better when it’s controlled by Professor Scharfe. But then it’s just an elaborate, electromechanical mask. A great achievement to be sure, but the biggest challenge is not the hardware, it’s the software.

  • Bicycle Bill

    Correct about the movement, but it looks no worse than some of the mimes and comics I’ve seen with their interpretations of robotic movement — think Shields and Yarnell, for example. And that open-mouthed, wide-eyed expression at approximately 17 seconds in looks like it was lifted straight out of one of George Carlin’s performances.


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.

See More

Collapse bottom bar