A machine touted as the world’s most advanced humanoid robot “freaked out” its creators after it reacted with visible irritation and grabbed the hand of a researcher who got into its “personal space.”
A newly posted video demonstration of the interaction shows the robot, called ‘Ameca’, tracking a moving finger before furrowing its brow and leaning back as the person’s hand comes nearer. After the researcher pokes its nose, the robot then grabs their hand and moves it away.
The impressively life-like robot, which is being developed by British firm Engineered Arts, has been billed as the “future face of robotics” and “the perfect humanoid robot platform for human-robot.
The grey-colored machine somewhat resembles the robots from the 2004 Hollywood adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s ‘I, Robot’. Ameca is said to offer the whole range of human emotions, together with realistic eye and facial movements.
Sharing the clip on YouTube, the Cornwall-based robotics firm said that “Ameca reacts as things enter their ‘personal space.’” The developers noted that this behavior was “even starting to freak us out at Engineered Arts and we are used to it!”
While most viewers appreciated the machine, some commenters viewed it with a mix of “excitement and fear,” with one person tweeting that the interaction represents an “early warning” about the dangers of the technology potentially going rogue.
Much like an earlier demonstration of the machine this month, however, the interaction appears to have been pre-programmed. In a previous video, Ameca ‘wakes up’, rolls its shoulder and curiously looks at its arms before showing surprise, irritation and breaking into a creepy smile after ‘noticing’ the camera.
The “built to last” robot is available for purchase and rental, but is just a stationary model at present. The developers are working on upgrading the machine, which utilizes the firm’s ‘Mesmer’ technology to mimic human emotions and expressions, bone structure and skin texture.