Watch this android child make some very odd and unsettling facial expressions

Meet Affetto, an android child from Osaka University. Affetto may live in Japan but he was obviously born in the Uncanny Valley. From a technical paper in Frontiers in Robotics and AI:

Faces of android robots are one of the most important interfaces to communicate with humans quickly and effectively, as they need to match the expressive capabilities of the human face, it is no wonder that they are complex mechanical systems containing inevitable non-linear and hysteresis elements derived from their non-rigid components.

No wonder, indeed. Below, videos of Affetto's body and tactile sensors.

(via IEEE Spectrum)

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Welcome to Uncatty Valley: Where cats & dogs trip out seeing people in a cat mask filter

Is it real, or is it Memorex?

screengrabs via CuteVN Animals Read the rest

Very weird faceless robot baby for elderly people

Hiro-chan is a very simple, inexpensive, and, er, faceless robotic baby doll designed to comfort elderly people. (Video below.) Unlike the very similar looking Amish dolls that lack faces for religious reasons, Hiro-chan's developers Vstone say that leaving the features up to the individual's imagination is an effective way to increase the emotional bond. From Evan Ackerman's article at IEEE Spectrum:

Hiro-chan’s entire existence seems to be based around transitioning from sad to happy in response to hugs. If left alone, Hiro-chan’s mood will gradually worsen and it’ll start crying. If you pick it up and hug it, an accelerometer will sense the motion, and Hiro-chan’s mood will improve until it starts to laugh. This is the extent of the interaction, but you’ll be glad to know that the robot has access to over 100 utterance variations collected from an actual baby (or babies) to make sure that mood changes are fluid and seamless.

...Since the functionality of the robot depends on you getting it go from sad to happy, Vstone says that giving the robot a face (and a fixed expression) would make that much less convincing and emotionally fulfilling—the robot would have the “wrong” expression half the time. Instead, the user can listen to Hiro-chan’s audio cues and imagine a face. Or not. Either way, the Uncanny Valley effect is avoided (as long as you can get over the complete lack of face, which I personally couldn’t), and the cost of the robot is kept low since there’s no need for actuators or a display.

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Deepfake: Back to the (actual) Future

On Back to the Future Day (that's October 21, 2015), a film short premiered at Universal CityWalk in Hollywood that imagined Marty McFly arriving to the future — meaning, October 21, 2015. Back to the 2015 Future reunited several original cast members (but used a Michael J. Fox impersonator) and, in the four years it's been online, has garnered over 3 million views.

Now, YouTuber Pacto Copernico has made a deepfake version of the 15-minute short where Michael J. Fox's face is put on the impersonator's, Tyler Dunivan. There's still a decent amount of uncanny valley but, if you squint, you might be able to suspend your disbelief a little to enjoy this "sequel."

Hurry, Watch all three before they get shut down:

Back to the 2015 Future (not deepfaked):

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Impressive look at how Rachel got recreated in Blade Runner 2049

Visual effects house MPC offers a fascinating glimpse into the remarkable work they did to digitally recreate Rachel in Blade Runner 2049. Each iteration of these technologies inches close to indistinguishable duplicates. Read the rest

Putting a super-advanced Lincolnbot through his paces

Dan from the Journal of Ride Theory sez, "This is great. Conducting an interview while this cartoonishly expressive, hyperrealistic Lincoln silently pulls cray-cray Jim Carrey faces is simultaneously one of the coolest, unintentionally funniest and creepiest things ever. Also, all his movements have that weird swoop-to-new-pose weirdness of bad CGI. Swoop-hold, swoop-hold, swoop-hold." Read the rest

Meet a creepy little girl from the uncanny valley

Landon Meier, maker of fantastically realistic (and hyperrealistic) masks introduces us to a wonderfully weird little girl who visits us from the uncanny valley. (Stan Winston School via Laughing Squid)

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Watch Star Wars: Rogue One ending flow into A New Hope beginning

The perfect plot flow fires me up even as Uncanny Valley Leia brings a tear to my eye. (Barre Fong)

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Video edit mocks awful animation in Mass Effect: Andromeda

The technology to create emotionless, plastic-faced "uncanny valley" animation is getting cheaper, and those placed in charge of using it are giving less and less of a fuck.

Another compendium here from xLetalis.

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Inside a sex doll factory

Photographer Robert Benson visited the uncanny valley to capture the making of a RealDoll, the $6500 hyperrealistic sex doll first made famous by Howard Stern. His photo series is surreal, provocative, and beautifully odd.

"Everyone was super passionate about what they're doing, and they take the work seriously," Benson told CNN. "I guess the fascination wears off after a week and it becomes like any other job."

See more here: Sex Dolls (NSFW?)

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Delightful skinless animatronic baby

It's more creepy with the rubber skin.

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Who could resist this creepy Elfoid phone that will suck your soul out of your ear?

The Elfoid mobile phone was designed at Japan's Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR).

The cellphone-sized package is covered in soft urethane gel which, according to chief robot designer Hiroshi Ishiguro and his research team at ATR, “provides a feeling of ease."

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Videoshopping still photos of Putin creates an uncanny valley effect

Bennie Melwin shares this clip of how they videoshopped photos of Vladimir Putin for the making of a hilarious commentary on Putin's anti-gay policies. Read the rest

Bikini models in H&M ads are four real heads all photoshopped onto the same CGI body

H&M has admitted that the bikini models in its ads are just real models' heads pasted onto a computer-generated "ideal" body. As Jezebel notes, "But man, isn't looking at the four identical bodies with different heads so uncanny?"

The bodies of most of the models H&M features on its website are computer-generated and "completely virtual," the company has admitted. H&M designs a body that can better display clothes made for humans than humans can, then "dresses" it by drawing on its clothes, and digitally pastes on the heads of real women in post-production.

H&M Puts Real Model Heads On Fake Bodies

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TOM THE DANCING BUG: Billy Dare Into the Uncanny Valley

Four out of five dentists recommend the TOM THE DANCING BUG WEBSITE for their patients who visit time-wasting websites. The other one out of five recommend that their patients brush their teeth with pixie stix and follow RUBEN BOLLING (@rubenbolling) on TWITTER. Read the rest