If we had a nickel for every time a new robot terrified us with creepily realistic facial movements this month, we’d have two nickels. After Engineered Arts revealed its menacingly realistic Ameca robot, the company has gone one step further with its Adran robot.
Revealed on the company's YouTube channel, Adran is an even more realistic robot that ends up being far creepier. It just goes to show that beating the Uncanny Valley is going to take a lot of work for engineers.
The creepy Adran Robot video
Engineered Arts’ new robot demo is designed as a more realistic alternative to Ameca. As part of the company's Mesmer robotics, this particular machine isn’t designed like a humanoid from I, Robot. Instead, it's substantially more “fleshy”.
Ameca’s still-creepy, obviously-robot exterior is replaced with wrap-around faux skin. Apart from a hole on the top of its head, everything has skin. There's realistic ears, eyelids and lips. Additionally, the robot has teeth, stubble and realistic forehead winkles; it must frown a lot.
Powered by 22 actuation motors, the Mesmer-based machine can realistically move individual facial muscles. This allows the robot to yawn, wiggle its jaw, smile and more. For example, at one point in the video, the robot gives a nightmare-inducing wink. Additionally, it can stare at you until you feel nothing but fear.
The creepazoid factor sure isn't helped by the fact that it's just a head with wires coming out of it. It brings an obvious comparison: Ash from Alien, who tried to choke someone with a nudey-mag. On the other hand, it could remind you of Bishop from Aliens, a much friendlier headless robot.
It’s an impressive feat for robotics
As creepy as the current form on the Adran Mesmer robot is, it’s still a fantastic step forward for robotics. While not perfect, it is one of the more realistic humanoid robots we've seen. However, the addition of realistic skin and human appendages definitely makes it less approachable than Ameca.
Nevertheless, Engineered Arts is in a fantastic place for the future of its flesh-covered robotics. While we wouldn't want one of those creepy mechanised beings in our houses anytime soon, they're certainly pretty cool. And creepy. Did we mention creepy?