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The Man Who Mistook His Girlfriend for a Robot
August 13, 2003 8:57 AM   Subscribe

The Man Who Mistook His Girlfriend for a Robot When David Hanson set out to build a robotic head, he saw no reason not to make it look just like a human. Then he stumbled into the Uncanny Valley. (For contrast and comparison, a similarly-themed prior post).
posted by LinusMines (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Hmmm.... that's odd. She looks more like a hat to me.
posted by bradth27 at 9:23 AM on August 13, 2003


hmm, actually, it looks like he created a face that was modelled on his face as well as her face. Look at the chin.

This is definitely awesome stuff.
posted by angry modem at 9:45 AM on August 13, 2003


Uncanny valley. Fascinating stuff. This explains the reactions I get in the checkout line at the supermarket.
posted by adamrice at 9:52 AM on August 13, 2003


angry modem, he picked the girlfriend because she looked like the robot she wanted to build. Is it surprising that she looks like him?
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:58 AM on August 13, 2003


I'd hit it.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 10:18 AM on August 13, 2003


I think this "uncanny valley" stuff applies to 3D animations as well (in games and movies). The closer they get to looking realistic, the easier it is to be critical of the mistakes.

I think some video game makers have recognized this phenomenon as well and have experimented with regression from ultra-realisim. They seem to be aiming closer to the first peak instead of trying to make it up the second one.

A good example of this with the latest Zelda game (WW). They were orginally trying to go for ultra realisim, but they decided to take a step back and go with the cartoon-cell style of approach instead. With the cartoony feel, you are much more at ease to just enjoy the game and not notice the graphical flaws.
posted by joquarky at 2:30 PM on August 13, 2003


Better than mistaking your wife for a hat.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:20 PM on August 13, 2003


Maybe I'm missing a trick here, but far from being uncanny, the robot faces pictured seem as familiar as the animatronics practised by Disney since the 60s. Maybe a video clip of the thing in action would prove me wrong.... but then again he has made a "Pirates of the Caribbean"-style robot face, so the similarities are more than just subconscious.
posted by skylar at 5:07 PM on August 13, 2003


The closer they get to looking realistic, the easier it is to be critical of the mistakes.

I agree -- the "uncanny valley" concept makes sense for CG as well. In Final Fantasy, for example, the level of realism was astounding, but flaws, when they appeared, were unnerving.

the robot faces pictured seem as familiar as the animatronics practised by Disney since the 60s

Not surprising: After graduation, Hanson worked as an artist for six years, ending up at Disney in Los Angeles, where he sculpted theme-park characters, researched new materials, and hobnobbed with animatronics experts.
posted by eddydamascene at 7:42 PM on August 13, 2003


Another previous post that dealt with this fascinating and uncanny valley.
posted by samuelad at 8:58 PM on August 13, 2003


Wow, Settle: I have a Gary Newman tee-shirt. I loved that guy. I think I went to see him at the Palladium with either Elvis Costello or the Boomtown Rats. I feel like buying one of his disks now.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:55 AM PST on April 25

posted by y2karl at 9:10 PM on August 13, 2003


[this is good]
posted by dg at 11:32 PM on August 13, 2003


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