Banner
    Realistic Robots - Uncanny Valley Still Pretty Wide
    By Hank Campbell | May 7th 2011 08:09 PM | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0®.

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone ever had. Others may prefer Newton or Archimedes...

    View Hank's Profile
    In 1970, Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori described what he called the "uncanny valley", which was a graph showing our affinity for a machine to its likeness of humans.   As robots look and act more human-like, our fondness for them increases, but when machines reach a point where they look so much like us that we can barely tell they're different, we feel repulsed instead of affectionate. 

    uncanny valley

    31 years later, we're still in that uncanny valley but the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute in Japan is not giving up.    These are the guys who brought us Japanese Fembots, after all.

    fembot uncanny valley

    A recent Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute summit brought three people and their robotic doppelgangers, what they termed Geminoids.  These "hyper-realistic humanoids" were of Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro and Associate Professor Henrik Scharfe and they had "an unnerving tea party with their synthetic twins", as described by The Guardian.   The third Geminoid is a female model whose identity was not disclosed.

    Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro and his Geminoid in the uncanny valley
    Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro from The Guardian

    What would you talk about with your robotic twin?   Mine would likely annoy me.   Big know-it-all.  He would have nice hair, though.

    Link: Japanese robot twins fail to bridge the 'uncanny valley' by Olivia Stone.  H/T RealClearScience