Robot Gets More Realistic Expressions, Stares Into Your Soul

For many of us, Skynet’s artificial intelligence and killer robots is a recurring nightmare. It also seems closer to becoming reality every year. Real-life robotics company Engineering Arts doesn’t seem to be planning world domination like Cyberdyne Systems. But their humanoid robot Ameca does give off real T-1000 vibes. And now it’s even more realistic thanks to upgraded facial expressions. 12 new face actuators means winking, pursed lips, crinkled brows, and a scrunched nose are possible. The engineers then put Ameca in front of a mirror and ran it through every emotion from sad to giddy. And even slightly murderous. 

If you’ve watched the show Light & Magic, you’ll know a bit about ILM’s work behind the scenes on Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The T-1000’s groundbreaking graphics required Robert Patrick, wearing only his underwear and checkerboard-patterned paint, to walk and flail around in front of crowds of people. It’s one of the shows most interesting insights, and that’s saying something. With technology like Ameca, the movie would be shot in a different way if it was made now.

We saw this latest Ameca upgrade thanks to Boing Boing. If you haven’t been following the robot’s progress, it’s not too late to catch up. A video of its annoyance when someone boops its nose is particularly interesting. For now, the robot only has “skin” and “muscles” on its face and hands, but that’s enough to really get human-like movements and emotions across. 

Realistic robot Ameca looks in the mirror and scrunches its face
Engineered Arts

Engineering Arts mostly uses Ameca to entertain people or act as a stand-in at conventions. They can also make realistic copies of people using an earlier version of the technology. YouTuber Tom Scott commissioned one of himself, but was a bit freaked out by his doppelganger and made sure it was unplugged before leaving.

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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