Science

‘World’s most advanced’ humanoid robot is unveiled in a UK lab

It may bear a somewhat uncanny resemblance to the terrifying creation in the Will Smith blockbuster I, Robot.

But this machine is actually real and has been billed as the ‘world’s most advanced’ humanoid.

Named Ameca, it was created in a British lab and has eerily realistic movements and facial expressions.

Impressive: It may bear a resemblance to the terrifying creation in the Will Smith blockbuster I, Robot. But this is actually real and has been billed as the ‘world’s most advanced’ humanoid

Named Ameca, it has eerily realistic facial expressions and movements and has been created in a British lab

Named Ameca, it has eerily realistic facial expressions and movements and has been created in a British lab

Tech firm will pay you £150,000 to use our face on its ROBOTS  

The idea of lending your face to a robot may sound like the plot from an episode of Black Mirror, but it could soon become a reality.

Robot manufacturer Promobot is seeking a face for its next humanoid robot, which will be used in hotels, shopping malls and airports from 2023.

The firm is offering a whopping £150,000 ($200,000) to the brave volunteer, who must be willing to transfer the rights to use of their face forever.

Cornwall-based Engineered Arts, which brands itself ‘the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of humanoid entertainment robots’, unveiled the machine on YouTube to much excitement.

Many viewers expressed their amazement at how realistic and human-like the machine is. 

One user wrote: ‘I know we’re supposed to be scared of AI, but this is the first gynoid that hasn’t creeped me out. It’s pretty cool.’

Another said: ‘It’s the eyes. People take for granted how important eyes are when it comes to something looking alive.

‘The rapid movement, the focus, the blinking, the attention they seem to pay to whatever is grabbing their attention.’

A third added: ‘I seriously thought this was CGI at first. Great work! The hands look really well done too.’

Some people compared Ameca to the NS-5 series from I, Robot, a 2004 science fiction film starring Will Smith that sees intelligent robots fill public service positions in a dystopian world.

In the clip, the robot is seen warming up its shoulder, before opening its eyes and expressing a rather convincing look of shock or surprise. 

It even blinks multiple times and observes its machine arm with curiosity. 

Engineered Arts, which brands itself 'the UK's leading designer and manufacturer of humanoid entertainment robots', unveiled the machine on YouTube to much excitement

Engineered Arts, which brands itself ‘the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of humanoid entertainment robots’, unveiled the machine on YouTube to much excitement 

Many viewers expressed their amazement at how realistic and human-like the machine is

Many viewers expressed their amazement at how realistic and human-like the machine is

The preview ends with Ameca reaching out its hand and admiring its combination of mechanical limbs and ligaments, actuators, and sensor arrays. 

It is certainly realistic and at the forefront of its field in terms of its expressions, but the next challenge will be enabling these robots to walk around.

Engineered Arts said it was still a long way off that, but added that the face is housed on a ‘human-like artificial body (AI x AB)’ that boasts a ‘powerful Tritium robot operating system’.

It has not revealed how much the robot cost to make as it is still in development. 

In the clip, the robot is seen warming up its shoulder, before opening its eyes and expressing a rather convincing look of shock or surprise

In the clip, the robot is seen warming up its shoulder, before opening its eyes and expressing a rather convincing look of shock or surprise

It even blinks multiple times and observes its machine arm with curiosity (pictured)

It even blinks multiple times and observes its machine arm with curiosity (pictured)

Some people compared Ameca to the NS-5 series from I, Robot (pictured), a 2004 science fiction film starring Will Smith that sees intelligent robots fill public service positions in a dystopian world

Some people compared Ameca to the NS-5 series from I, Robot (pictured), a 2004 science fiction film starring Will Smith that sees intelligent robots fill public service positions in a dystopian world

Ameca follows the development of Sophia, which first emerged in 2016, and was a super-intelligent human-like head with a realistic face that was able to blink, look from side to side and talk.

The humanoid robot, created by Hong Kong firm Hanson robotics, is able to chat, smile mischievously and even tell jokes.

The robot made history in October 2017 when it became legal a citizen of Saudi Arabia.

Engineered Arts hopes Ameca will offer people a glimpse of the future because it ‘represents the forefront of human-robotics technology’.

‘Designed specifically as a platform for development into future robotics technologies, Ameca is the perfect humanoid robot platform for human-robot interaction,’ the company said on its website.

‘We focus on bringing you innovative technologies, which are reliable, modular, upgradable and easy to develop upon.’ 

Engineered Arts was formed in 2005 and its first robot was a mechanical ‘Thespian’ for the stage. 

WHO IS SOPHIA THE ROBOT?

In October 2017, Sophia was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia

In October 2017, Sophia was granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia

Sophia first emerged in 2016 as a super-intelligent human-like head with a realistic face that was able to blink, look from side to side and talk.

The humanoid robot, created by Hong Kong firm Hanson robotics, can chat, smile mischievously and even tell jokes.

The robot made history in October 2017 when she became legal a citizen of Saudi Arabia.

The stunt made Sophia the world’s first robot to be granted legal citizenship.

While Sophia has some impressive capabilities, she does not yet have consciousness.

Hanson Robotics claims fully sentient machines could emerge within a few years.

Sophia herself has insisted ‘the pros outweigh the cons’ when it comes to artificial intelligence.

‘Elders will have more company, autistic children will have endlessly patient teachers,’ Sophia said.


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