The population of humanoid robots on Earth continues to grow unabated. Everybody and their IT person has seen Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, for example. And what’s going on with bipedal bots at Caltech would make a T-1000 sit up and take notice. But nothing—as far as we know—appears to be more realistic than Engineered Arts’ new robot, Ameca. Say hello to Ameca in the video below. Before planning your escape route.
Engineered Arts, “the UK’s leading designer and manufacturer of humanoid entertainment robots,” recently introduced Ameca to the internet. Unsurprisingly, net denizens everywhere lost their skull-bound wetware computers over the bot. Because who wouldn’t?
The above video is brief, but Engineered Arts gives us enough of a taste of Ameca to want a lot more. And also, a lot less. The humanoid robot, which doesn’t have much faux skin and musculature apart from what’s on its face and hands, is stunningly realistic. Not only are the robot’s movements exceptionally fluid, but its face also seems totally natural. Skipping across the uncanny valley that so many robots fall into.
As for the tech, it seems the robot’s combination of mechanical limbs and ligaments, actuators, and sensor arrays is cutting-edge. Although Engineered Arts has been around since 2005, which means it’s had 16 years to perfect its humanoid bots. Incidentally, the company’s first robot was a mechanical “Thespian” robot for the stage. (Sadly, it was not Calculon.)
In its figurative head, however, Ameca is somewhat lacking. Engineered Arts makes it clear Ameca doesn’t use anything like “Pure AI” (a.k.a. Artificial General Intelligence). And regarding conversation, Ameca is essentially a chatbot in one heck of a metal chassis. Although Engineered Arts says users can easily “talk through the robot” remotely.
Aside from a potential starring role in A.I. Part 2—we’d watch it—Ameca has many uses. Mainly as an entertainer at conventions and the like; where its lifelike facade and manner apparently never ceases to amaze people. And that’s without an AI that could turn it into something that would, likewise, probably be amazed by us.
Feature image: Engineered Arts