Space & Innovation

Robot Resembles Scarlett Johansson

A robot built by a Hong Kong-based product and graphic designer has a striking resemblance to a famous actress.

A robot built by a Hong Kong-based product and graphic designer has a striking resemblance to a famous actress. The designer, Ricky Ma, does not want to say who, but I think we can all guess.

Ma built the prototype, named Mark 1, over 18 months on a budget of about $50,000.

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He used 3-D printing to create a skeleton that supports the machinery and computing power that runs the robot. The entire humanoid is covered in silicone skin to make it appear more lifelike.

The robot is able to respond to questions and answers them in a voice that is clearly machine-generated. The lips do not match the words at all, giving away the robot underneath.

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Perhaps the most humanlike features are the eyes, which at least in the video appear watery and realistic.

click to play video

Ma told Reuters that building a robot was one his lifelong dreams.

"I figured I should just do it when the timing is right and realize my dream. If I realize my dream, I will have no regrets in life," he said.

Although the technology underneath does not represent the most sophisticated robotic advances, overall the machine has caused quite a stir, mostly for its resemblance to you-know-who.

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Johansson has had her share of admirers, some of whom have been jailed for their obsessions. Back in 2012, Christopher Chaney, who hacked the celebrity's online accounts and stole and distributed nude photos of her, received 10 years in prison.

I find the robot entirely creepy, especially on the heels of another story about a female robot with realistic facial expressions.

Wired writer, April Glaser gets to the very heart of what's unsettling about this robot. She writes, "If a man can't earn the attention of the woman he longs for, is it plausible for that man to build a robot that looks exactly like his love interest instead?"

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Ewww.

Can Scarlett sue?

Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington said yes. "It being animate all of a sudden for some reason feels too invasive," he told Glaser. "If were to gain commercially in almost any way from this, and even arguably the notoriety he has gained from this, Scarlett Johansson could almost certainly sue him."

Celebrities might have to start trademarking not just their names, but their faces and voices.

Atlas resembles humanoid robots we know from fiction, such as The Terminator.