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Telenoid R1

Patient Simulators

Alpha Dog




Animatronic Predator head

The animatronics of Gustav Hoegen

Robot head

Showa Hanako

Robot Mouth

Animatronic baby

Robotics is an exponentially growing field — but that doesn't mean its creations are all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, we're pretty sure some of them want to steal our souls.

The Telenoid R1 was created as a telepresence bot — one that was specifically designed to make your long-distance communications more personal by sticking a human face on it. We think it, um, still has a ways to go.

Caption by / Photo by Osaka University and ATR Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory

The robotic "patients" used in Sydney Royal North Shore Hospital's training programs are great; it means medical staff members aren't practising on a live patient. But that doesn't mean they're not as creepy as heck.

Caption by / Photo by CNET Australia

We can appreciate that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has a need for something that can carry a lot of weight over difficult terrain; but does it really have to move so much like something out of Silent Hill?

Caption by / Photo by DARPA

And if Alpha Dog wasn't bad enough, here's one that could outrun every human alive. Your best hope is to hide and hope it can't see you.

Caption by / Photo by DARPA

No, that's it. It's all over. We're done for.

Caption by / Photo by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

Diego-san has a purpose: helping researchers learn about human cognitive development. But watching his frubber face run through a gamut of expressions while attached to a robo-skeleton makes it look like they've just stuck a baby's head on a heap of metal. Also, the thought of robots with feelings? Noooo. What if they decide their feelings are that they hate us?

Caption by / Photo by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

Once you get into the animatronic showreel section of YouTube, you start to see some really creepy stuff. Take a look at how the Predator's metal skeleton moves without skin over the top. Urk.

Caption by / Photo by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

Mind you, with the skin on, it's not much better. Those repeated, twitching expressions — something Gustav Hoegen excels at — made more unnerving because they're so lifelike, make our skins crawl.

Caption by / Photo by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

We can't decide which version of this robot head prototype by A2Z Concepts is worst: the one without skin ... or the one with.

Caption by / Photo by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

Much like hospital training, several universities in Japan are using a robot to help train dental students. Showa Hanako can move and react like a real dental patient, coughing, squirming, even choking. The strangest part, though, is that she was designed with the help of Orient Industry — a manufacturer of "love dolls".

Caption by / Photo by Showa University

Kagawa University's robot mouth was designed to help study the way the human head produces sound. It has an artificial throat, tongue and nasal cavity. It sounds like a soul in purgatory.

Caption by / Photo by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

If you watched Gustav Hoegen's showreel above, you'd have caught a brief glimpse of this one, created during Hoegen's time at Millennium FX. All we can say is: why?

Caption by / Photo by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia
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