This Uncanny Valley Robot Resident Can Mimic Human Body Language

By Gerald Lynch on at

Japan's Erica android is one of the most realistic yet – but it still gives us the creeps. Built by resident Uncanny Valley robot expert Hiroshi Ishiguro, Erica not only speaks and moves, but is also capable of mimicking realistic human movements which we interpret as emotive "body language".

Blinking, smirking and leaning its head as it speaks, Erica takes us one step closer to the kind of synthetic robots shown off in Channel 4's Humans – though we all know that the closer you get to a believable human likeness without fully achieving it, the weirder it makes us feel.

Still, Ishiguro's robotic mastery improves all the time, with Erica noted to have far better communication skills than his previous efforts. Erica can hold a (relatively canned) conversation, and reply with colloquial responses, "umming" and "ahhing".

Built as a collaboration between the Japan Science and Technology Agency, Osaka University, the Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR) and Kyoto University, the android was showcased off at Japan's Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo earlier this month. Check it/her out in action below.