(PhysOrg.com) -- The uncanny valley is getting smaller every day. For those of you not familiar with that concept, the uncanny valley is a term, first coined by researchers in Japan, that explains the innate human ability to know when a humanoid robot is just not human, a creepy feeling. A new generation of ultra-realistic robots may make these distinctions harder to make.
The latest robot in the family of ultra-realistic androids, called the Geminoid series, is so realistic that it can actually be mistaken for the person it was designed to look like. The new bot, dubbed the Geminoid DK, was was created by robotics firm Kokoro in Tokyo and is now being housed at Japan's Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International in Nara. The robot was designed to look like Associate Professor Henrik Scharfe of Aalborg University in Denmark. Why he wanted an exact robot duplicate of himself no one exactly knows, but the resemblance is uncanny.
The bot will stay in Japan for a while, to finish testing with its human look-a-like, and then it will be shipped to Denmark to live in a special lab designed just for it. Hopefully, the right one gets the seat on the plane. The Geminoid DK will then be used to research "emotional affordances" in human-robot interaction, with a specific focus on looking at the cultural differences in human perception of robots.
Geminoid DK is not the first attempt to make human-like robots, known as androids, that have created successful results. Another robot in the Geminoid family, the Geminoid-F is capable of mimicking human facial expressions and even laughing. Other bots, such as the HRP-4 have learned to mimic human expressions and sound while singing.
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More information: geminoid.dk/
via IEEE (thanks Erico Guizzo for the tip)