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The most terrifying real-life robots

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.

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Michelle Starr
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1 of 12 Osaka University and ATR Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory

Telenoid R1

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.

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2 of 12 CNET Australia

Patient Simulators

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.

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3 of 12 DARPA

Alpha Dog

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?

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4 of 12 DARPA

Cheetah

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.

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5 of 12 Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

Pet-Proto

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

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6 of 12 Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

Diego-san

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?

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7 of 12 Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

Animatronic Predator head

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.

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8 of 12 Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

The animatronics of Gustav Hoegen

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.

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9 of 12 Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

Robot head

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

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10 of 12 Showa University

Showa Hanako

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".

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11 of 12 Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

Robot Mouth

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.

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12 of 12 Michelle Starr/CNET Australia

Animatronic baby

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?

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