What you’re seeing here is not a professionally made piece of robotics to be used in an upcoming Hollywood movie, nor is it a detailed prop used to showcase some new AI program. This is a home-made robot, built from scratch, by a Hong Kong man over the last year and a half. It is clearly made to resemble the actress Scarlett Johansson, even though the maker won’t directly say so, something that only contributes to the fact that it is creepy as hell.
42-year-old Ricky Ma, an inventor and designer, says he’s spent around $50,000 building the Mark 1, the official name he’s given the robot. It features limited movement abilities, and can speak using canned phrases (with a voice that definitely does not resemble Johansson’s). And in case you’re wondering, no, the humanoid robot was not built to meet, ahem, personal needs.
Speaking to several media outlets, Ma says the Mark 1 is built from a 3D-printed skeleton, with a pliable silicone skin used to cover all the electronics and mechanical parts. In addition to responding to verbal commands, the robot can form detailed facial expressions.
Despite the creepiness factor, Ma’s creation is still fairly impressive considering he has no robotics training whatsoever, and his goal is to simply build better robots should he be able to sell the prototype to an investor.
“When I was a child, I liked robots. Why? Because I liked watching animation. All children loved it. There were Transformers, cartoons about robots fighting each other and games about robots. After I grew up, I wanted to make one. But during this process, a lot of people would say things like, ‘Are you stupid? This takes a lot of money. Do you even know how to do it? It’s really hard.'”