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Animatronic Robot Baby Replaces Premature Infants On-Screen (WATCH)

Robot Baby

First Posted: 01/24/2012 5:52 pm Updated: 01/24/2012 6:05 pm

The wriggling, the squirming, the Moro reflex-induced jump... If you want proof that artificial intelligence is thriving, look no further than this robotic -- and yes, somewhat creepy -- baby.

The video below shows the animatronic infant lying on its back doing a pitch-perfect newborn impersonation. Babble.com reported that it was created for a UK soap opera by special effects designer, Chris Clarke, who also lent his talents to technically rich movie "War Horse." And, while jaw-dropping special effects are standard fare on screen, this electro-infant is especially surprising to watch.

Clarke told The Huffington Post that creating an animatronic human required a significant amount of research -- including an investigation into the psychology of babies.

"[A baby's] brain is still trying to figure out which electrical impulses control which body parts...I design the mechanics to move generically the way a baby does, [and] the rest is getting into the head of the baby when puppeteering it," Clarke wrote in an email.

Many bloggers and online commenters have called the animatronic baby "creepy" and "freaky" -- Technabob even ran a post about the clip with the headline "Skinless Robot Baby is the Stuff Nightmares Are Made Of." But, whether you are horrified or fascinated, there is no denying that Clarke's tiny robots serve an important purpose -- keeping real infants safe.

"Keep[ing] a real premature baby on set all day under hot studio lights just isn't something that's done," said Clarke. "It can be the same for [non-premature], healthy babies too."

Here at HuffPost Parents, we'll take a "freaky" fake baby instead of endangering a real infant any day. Let us know what you think in our poll.

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Filed by Emma Gray  |