A new robot called the iCub looks and moves like a scary baby right out of a horror movie, and while it’s cool, it also creeps me out.
The iCub robot is the latest in a line robots designed by the RobotCub Consortium which mimicks the movements of young humans. The dimensions of this model are similar to that of a three and a half year old human, though obviously kids that age are usualyl able to walk by then.
The iCub is able to replicate several facial expressions designed to make them seem more human, but to me it just makes it all the more creepy since it is just a machine, after all.
One of the motivations behind the development of this line of robots is the idea that the human mind learns and grows partially from the body’s interactions with the environment around it. This robot is designed to mimick the actions of a young child in the hopes that by placing it in certain scenarios it will learn to act in the same way a child does.
One of the interesting things about this robot, is that certain models of the iCub are apparently skilled at archery and other feats of athleticism, and, according to sources it is currently being considered a contender for the next Olympic torch bearer.
As neat as all this is, there’s still something disturbing about it all. A human looking robot designed to act like a human in the hopes of learning sounds quite a bit like the plot to a science fiction movie. While it would be neat to see how far this technology goes, I can’t shake the feeling it gives me.
Hopefully the scientists and researchers working on these robots are a little less inclined to letting their imagination run wild than myself.