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Robots Creepiest When Most Human-Like (VIDEOS)

First Posted: 01/31/2012 8:50 am   Updated: 01/31/2012 8:50 am

Some humanoid robots now in development are so realistic that they make you wonder if some of your friends have circuit boards behind their faces.

In the slideshow below, we've selected 11 of our favorite creepy robot videos, featuring bots that range from adorable-creepy to scary-creepy. Which bot makes you antsiest? Please take a minute to vote.

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  • Meet Jules, the newest and most realistic humanoid robot yet from David Hanson and the team at Hanson Robotics.

  • A robot that looks just like its creator (www.newscientist.com).

  • Engineers at Kagawa University in Japan are developing a talking robotic version of the human mouth: To enable the robot's speaking abilities, engineers at Japan's Kagawa University used an air pump, artificial vocal chords, a resonance tube, a nasal cavity, and a microphone attached to a sound analyzer as substitutes for human vocal organs.

  • ACTROID-F in AIST Open Lab 2010.

  • Robot modeled after Albert Einstein. Einstein mimics the facial expressions he detects in others. Smile at him, and he'll smile back.

  • Cybernetic human dance demo in DCEXPO, 2010.

  • Humanoid face created by Hanson Robotics (www.hansonrobotics.com). Robotics scientists at Hanson previously created animatronic puppets for Disney studios.

  • Animatronic baby mechanism for anonymous TV series. Built by Chris Clarke for CNFX Workshop.

  • Taiwanese Kissing Robots (NTUST Robot) were exhibited in AutoRob2009 in Gwangju, Korea. They were developed by Prof. Chyi-Yeu Lin's research team in National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

  • Robot girl with silicone skin.

Before people are willing to welcome robots into their lives, robotics engineers may have to overcome the creep factor in their creations. Roboticists have a term for this creep factor. The "uncanny valley" hypothesis states that robots appearing nearly-human are much more unsettling than those that don't look human at all.

The little things are what creep us out—an odd eyelid twitch, maybe, or an unfamiliar expression. It's why Wall-E didn't make critics uncomfortable but the strange almost-people in The Polar Express did.

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Filed by Travis Korte  |