Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Incredibly lifelike android

Danish scientist Henrik Scharfe has created a slightly more youthful looking replica of himself in the form of a robot. And not too surprisingly, he has done this in collaboration with Hiroshi Ishiguro, the man who has also created his robot copy, as well as the recent human-looking Elfoid phone system.

The innovation behind this project is mostly in how enormously realistic the face is starting to look. In terms of behavior there is not much going on, as the robot is simply coupled to a human person that directly controls the robot. But maybe soon we will see collaborative projects of companies who work on different parts to create a more complete humanoid robot.

It is definitely a step towards a posthuman existence once we include machines into our concept of a social person. If robots become so real that we mistake them for human beings during an interaction, up to the point that we don't even find out that it was a robot we were interacting with, we cannot fool ourselves anymore and deny that there is a fundamental difference between man and machine, can we?

A question this fundamental is not (yet) the aim of the researchers though. For now they are interested mostly in creating technologies for telepresence that lie in between a purely digital and a purely realistic representation. Furthermore, they are also interested in the emotional interactions that may take place from human to robot, as well as cultural differences in how these robots are perceived.

Here are some images to show you what a day in the life of a robot developer may look like:

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