Project Haruhi
7Oct/093

Uncanny Valley, Thy Name Is Miku

Have you ever heard of the uncanny valley theory? It states the following:

As a robot is made more humanlike in its appearance and motion, the emotional response from a human being to the robot will become increasingly positive and empathic, until a point is reached beyond which the response quickly becomes that of strong repulsion. However, as the appearance and motion continue to become more distinguishable from a human being, the emotional response becomes positive once more and approaches human-to-human empathy levels. --Wikipedia

Basically, the idea is that we tend to find things that too closely resemble humans, but are clearly not, repulsive. So, for example, a stuffed animal or anime moe girl, due to their stylization, would be considered cute and likeable. A zombie or dollfie, however, would not.

A group of Japanese scientists with the YAMAHA corporation recently debuted their HRP-4C Miimu robot, and decided to dress her up like Hatsune Miku and have her 'dance'. The result, visible in the video below, falls squarely in the lowest part of the uncanny valley.

Of course, this is nothing new. Japan has been producing creepy female robots for years. Hopefully, as programmers and engineers get better at simulating humans, they'll be able to climb out of the uncanny valley. For now, however, I think I'll stick with 2D girls.

UPDATE: Here are some pics of the 'bot in question, including a few before it's Miku makeover.

--Pics via Sankaku Complex (NSFW)

About Jon

Jon is a Japanese culture enthusiast, professional pervert and roleplaying fanatic who appreciates flexible gender identities. He enjoys science fiction, Gunpla, classical music and Red Stripe.