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The University of Science and Technology (UST) in Anhui, China recently showcased its incredibly realistic-looking humanoid robot. Jia Jia can talk, make facial expressions, and generally interact with humans – to the extent that she can sense if you’re taking a bad photo of her and tell you off for it. “Don’t come too close to me when you are taking a picture. It will make my face look fat,” Jia Jia told a would-be snapper during the unveiling.
Still, Jia Jia, with her silicone skin, is deep in the uncanny valley – incredibly realistic, but not quite human, enough to give you quite an eerie feeling. Perhaps not quite as eerie, though, as the Scarlett Johansson replica made by China’s Ricky Ma that he also unveiled earlier this year.
The UST team has worked for three years on making everything just right: mouth movements, realistic eye glances, and more. But some things are still to be figured out: for example, Jia Jia’s hands leave so much to be desired, and she can’t laugh or cry.
Jia Jia can already recognise voices, but the team hopes to give her facial recognition abilities in the near future, and to bolster her brain with machine deep learning, said team leader Chen Xiaoping.
For now, Jia Jia has autonomous navigation and positioning and can offer services based on cloud technology.
The team is not considering mass production yet, and Chen considers Jia Jia to be “priceless.”
The researchers’ previous project was the service robot Kejia. She took the first place at the RoboCup 2014 competition.