New Amazingly Life-like Android Better Than Star Trek’s Data

by Nancy Atkinson on March 10, 2011

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Even though the Star Trek character “Data” was played by a human, this new android might be more life-like. Watch the video, and I think you’ll agree that it is hard to tell (at first) that this is a robot. It’s called Geminoid DK, built by the Intelligent Robotics lab at Osaka University and designed by professor Hiroshi Ishiguro. Just like Data was modeled after his creator Doctor Noonian Soong, the Geminoid DK is created in the likeness of professor Henrik Scharfe of Aalborg University in Denmark. Not sure if it can whistle or if it remembers every fact to which it is exposed, but Geminoid DK has a better hairdo (and beard) than Data, and it can smile.


“All of the movements and expressions of Geminoid DK are remote controlled by an operator with a computer, who uses a motion-capture system that tracks facial expressions and head movements. Turn your head and the Geminoid does the same; move your mouth and the android follows suit,” IEEE Spectrum reports.

The Geminoid is going to be used for researching “emotional affordances” in human-robot interaction, the novel notion of “blended presence,” as well as cultural differences (from different continents) in the perception of robots.

This is the third in a series of life-like robots built by Ishiguro – the first was made to look like Ishiguro himself, the second resembled a young Japanese model. Ishiguro and Sharfe are working together on this latest robot project.

Henrik Scharfe and his look-alike, the Geminoid DK. Credit: Geminoid DK

For more info see the Geminoid DK website.

Source: IEEE Spectrum via EarthSKy Blog

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Astrofiend March 10, 2011 at 3:18 PM

Friggin’ sweet. The future is slowly but surely coming true.

Now we just need dramatic advances in AI so that it can do something more impressive than make life-like faces at me. Like go to the fridge and get me a beer. The future has officially arrived once my robot butler can go and get me a beer.

userzero March 10, 2011 at 4:02 PM

This is absolutely freakin’ amazing/scary. I’m so glad that the opus here is a guy that looks like a programmer- someone that I’d invite over for chips and beer for a few X-box games on the weekend; not a sex-bot. Where will we be in 10+ years?

Astrofiend March 10, 2011 at 6:06 PM

“Where will we be in 10+ years?”

Mainly sex bots I reckon.

IVAN3MAN_AT_LARGE March 10, 2011 at 5:59 PM

Watching this, the first thing that comes to my mind is the Gunslinger (Yul Brynner) in the movie Westworld.

Dark Gnat March 10, 2011 at 6:07 PM

I used to work with a guy who looked, and acted just like that, randome facial expressions and all.

Freaky.

ethanol March 10, 2011 at 7:11 PM

I’m sorry but I feel like this is just diving even deeper into the uncanny valley. The sudden facial expression at 14s is truly horrifying. I mean really, if you had a robot that looked like that, would you ever turn your back on it, or sleep without first taking out its batteries? I sure as hell wouldn’t.

Silver Thread March 10, 2011 at 8:19 PM

We really would be better off directing this energy toward development of prosthetic limbs. Honestly, does anyone want their children to compete in a business world with androids? It just seems like a bad idea, on par with giving firearms to aboriginals and nuclear technology to the government. The fact that we can doesn’t mean we should.

Olaf March 11, 2011 at 3:58 PM

This technology actually creates the foundation for new prosthetic limbs.

Uncle Fred March 12, 2011 at 8:17 PM

Paternal comments regarding a population of “others” is also a bad idea.

HeadAroundU March 10, 2011 at 9:59 PM

He looks gay. :D

Feenixx March 11, 2011 at 2:48 AM

I wouldn’t call them Androids or Robots at all, really. I see them as extremely realistic RC models of humans – as opposed to, say, the Mars Rovers, which are truly autonomous robots. O.k., they cannot smile, pull faces, roll their eyes… but they can do their stuff without remote control.
Great work, though, and a bit uncanny, indeed.

Paul Eaton-Jones March 11, 2011 at 3:48 AM

Somewhere on YouTube there’s a guy playing guitar who pulls pretty much the same faces in time to the music. That is quite funny, the ‘android’ is rather scary.

SteveZodiac March 11, 2011 at 5:33 AM

Interesting that the android’s upper body is swaying very slightly just like a real human holding himself upright on a spine…. c’mon, April 1st is not for a few days yet.

GBendt March 12, 2011 at 12:09 AM

This machine looks bright, but it only looks bright.

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