We've known about Machine Perception Lab's super-realistic robot baby for quite some time now, but we've never actually seen it in action — at least until now. As this new video shows, roboticists appear to be getting perilously close to crossing the uncanny valley — while scaring the crap out of the good children of Earth at the same time.

Named Diego-san, it's an exaggerated representation of a one-year old child that stands 4 feet 3 inches tall (130 cm) and weighs 66 pounds (30 kg). Its body consists of 44 pneumatic joints and its head contains about 27 moving parts. And as the video shows, its facial expressions are unbelievably life-like.

In order to simulate the reactions of a real child, Diego-san has had high definition cameras implanted in its eyes, allowing it to see people, gestures, and expressions. Then, through the use of an AI modeled on human babies, it can "learn" from people in the same way that real baby does. The researchers say it's a step forward in the development of "emotionally relevant robotics."


The face was developed by David Hanson at Hanson Robotics, and the body designed by Kokoro Co. Ltd. Part of the funding for Diego-san came from the National Science Foundation which is working to spur the development of cognitive AI and human-robot interaction research.


Image: MPL. H/t Gizmag.