Published March 07, 2011
Incredibly cool or insanely creepy? Yes, that is an actual robot.
Japanese researchers have blurred the lines between man and machine with their latest robot, the incredibly realistic Geminoid DK.
It is the third of the Geminoid series, a line of androids designed by Hiroshi Ishiguro, a professor at Osaka University and his team at Japan's Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) in Nara.
The robot has been constructed to look exactly like Henrik Scharfe, an associate professor of Aalborg University in Denmark and is the first of the series based on a non-Japanese person.
"Geminoid|DK will be the first of its kind outside of Japan," the group explains on the robot's website. "[It is] intended to advance android science and philosophy, in seeking answers to fundamental questions."
Ishiguro's first robot clone, Geminoid HI-1 was based on himself while the second, Geminoid F, was a copy of a young Japanese model. All Geminoids are remote controlled by an operator with a computer employing motion-capture technology, letting the robots realistically mimic facial expressions and head movements.
Both Scharfe and Ishiguro were vague on their future plans.
"In a couple of weeks I will go back to Japan to participate in the experiments," Scharfe told IEEE Spectrum Magazine. "After that, the robot is shipped to Denmark to inhabit a newly designed lab."
Ishiguro maintains that the group's purpose for the Geminoid is to further understand the "emotional affordances" in human-robot interaction.
The final result is a robot with facial expressions so real it's downright scary.
Scharfe's wife though, prefers the original.