The Creepy, Uncanny Valley

There’s a theory related to the simulation of human appearance called the Uncanny Valley by researcher Masahiro Mori. From Wikipedia:

This principle states that as a robot is made more humanlike in its appearance and motion the emotional response from a human being to robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached at which the response suddenly becomes strongly repulsive.

When I was a small child, I hated things like mannikins and wax museum figures. An episode of Speed Racer featuring a Robot Car driver terrified me. I absolutely hated the Bear Jamboree at Disneyland.

As an adult, I’ve recognized that this response is one of the genuine primal reactions I have, and as a result I’ve become somewhat fascinated by the subject. I’m still creeped me out, but it’s interesting to try to come to grips with it, particularly when combined with Robotics.

Watch MovieRecently on BoingBoing I saw this link to a movie from the Nasa Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Nondestructive Evaluation and Advanced Actuators Technology Lab. This is hard core robotics research into “novel” technologies for sensors and making things move.

The movie is a tech demonstration of a talking human female head mounted to a wooden box. It’s apparently capable of understanding spoken speech and responded. The eyes, head, and mouth move, and facial muscles are also simulated. I find it very spooky.

I guess there’s no real point to the post other than I’m wigged out and have to write something down to get it out of my system.