Fleshless robot baby would do Skynet proud

Engineers and tinkerers, it seems, never tire of creating horrific human simulacra in robot baby form. This one squirms like the Terminatorish nightmare it aspires to be.

The miracle of life: Another hyperalloy combat chassis, ready for action. Video screenshot by Tim Hornyak/CNET

"Eraserhead" baby, meet your match.

It seems engineers and tinkerers never tire of creating horrific human simulacra in robot baby form, or even robot fetus form. But the sheer nightmarish genius of this latest unholy spawn gives one pause. Behold it in the video below.

The silently mewling babe is a collection of whirring servomotors and flailing claw-arms, seemingly powered by unseen mechanisms beneath its blanket.

Its movements are perfectly lifelike, and yet its appearance is so alien-death machine-like that I get an overwhelming urge to cast it far into the Uncanny Valley from whence it came.

The Uncanny Valley, of course, is that hypothesized zone in which robots or artificial characters are lifelike enough to freak us out if they have disturbing imperfections.

Lack of skin is one. If this synthetic tot were fully fleshed out, it might be very endearing.

It was apparently made by animatronics expert Chris Clarke, a special-effects wizard whose credits include a puppet horse used in Steven Spielberg's "War Horse."

This isn't Clarke's first animatronic baby; an older video shows a charming babe created for an ad that looks almost exactly like the real thing.

Another video that purports to be his showreel is an impressive parade of freakishly believable creatures from dinosaurs to talking pigs to flying machines.

The latest baby was apparently made for a soap opera, and doubtless will spare a real baby from spending long hours in front of a camera.

I just shudder to think what'll happen when it gets an agent.


(Via IEEE Spectrum)

 

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