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Quick! Call the Uncanny Nanny!

Topics: Technology | Add A CommentBy admin | January 9, 2013

Diego-san and the other robot boys are running wild in the Uncanny Valley!


Why is this robot baby pouting?
He probably just saw what he
looks like for the first time.

Why do robot developers insist on creating robots that are every bit as macabre in appearance as the creepy ones in dystopian movies like Artificial Intelligence and I, Robot? Well, whatever the reason, researchers at the University of California San Diego’s Machine Perception Lab  have done it again, with their infant-like robot boy named Diego-san. For the record, it’s probably safe to assume that when the robots finally rise up to destroy us, it will be out of resentment for all the doofy names we gave them. And if you don’t think the robot rebellion is just around the corner, we’d like to point out that this is the second time in about a week that there has been a notable press release about baby robots. Diego-san is a joint project of UCSD’s Machine Perception Lab and Japanese robotics firm Kokoro. That’s probably a good thing; we’ve talked about the Uncanny Valley before, and Kokoro seems to be on the forefront of the creepily realistic. All these robot children are going to need a nanny, you know. And Kokoro seems prepared with their Actroid line  (see below). We’ve also pointed out  how surreally horrifying mechanized armies of robodogs and quadrotors would be. Just add a wave of these robobabies as the first line of attack, and your enemies would surrender before the battle began. I’ll just be retiring to my underground robot-proof bunker now. Video of Diego-san also below.

Okay, maybe experience as a “booth bunny” isn’t the best sort of qualification for a nanny, but the Kokoro Actroid line at least has the look:

Here’s the video; if you’re interested in technical details, this PinkTentacle.com piece  has them.