Creepy Examples of the Uncanny Valley

Originally coined by Masahiro Mori in 1970, the term “uncanny valley” describes our strange revulsion toward things that appear nearly human, but not quite right. This revulsion usually involves robots, but can also include computer animations and some medical conditions.

In aesthetics the uncanny valley is the hypothesis that human replicas that appear almost but not exactly like real human beings elicits feelings of eeriness and revulsion among some observers. Valley denotes a dip in the human observer’s affinity for the replica, a relation that otherwise increases with the replica’s human likeness.

Here are 10 examples of the uncanny valley in action, so take a look for yourself.


Created by Uncanny Valley robotics expert Hiroshi Ishiguro, Erica android is one of the most unnervingly human yet created.

Not only can she speak and move, but she can also mimic human body language with disconcertingly accurate facility. Smiling, blinking, grimacing, turning her head as she speaks — you could easily be forgiven for mistaking her for a sentient mortal if you squinted a bit.

But, of course, the very fact that Erica falls short of being entirely convincing is what makes her all the more strange. She was showcased at Japan’s Miraikan National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo in August 2015. But it might not be too long before Erica and her mechanical brethren make an appearance a little closer to home.

Philip K. Dick

Perhaps it was inevitable that the ultimate in unsettling humanoids would be an AI recreation of maverick sci-fi visionary Philip K. Dick.

You can watch him muse on everything from Cartesian philosophy to how he picks up new words. The next question to ask him? Do androids dream of electric sheep, surely?

Actroid-F and Kurokawa

Kurokawa was created by robotics firm Kokoro and Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) as a “brother” for their original — if not quite as “humanly” named — Actroid-F.

These super-realistic humanoid siblings are able to have a conversation with each other, and use their range of 12 facial expressions to indicate their reactions to the world around them. They can also imitate the movements of the people they’re watching.

After being successfully trialled in hospitals to see how patients felt in their presence (“only three or four people” out of 70 apparently felt uncomfortable with having them around”), AIST plans to employ the robots in other socially useful ways.



Designed and built by Hanson Robotics Inc., Jules is a conversational character robot.

A sophisticated AI creation, he’s made from a pliable, lightweight material called Frubber, which enables him to expressively move his face just like a real human.

He’s also capable of having a “natural, interactive” conversation if you’re so inclined. And Jules isn’t alone. Creator David Hanson has modelled an entire family of humanoids, including Alice, Han and — in honour of the great physicist himself – the Albert Einstein Hubo.

CB2 Child Robot

CB2, the child robot with the biomimetic body. A platform for Cognitive-development Robotics built by JST ERATO Asada Project and Kokoro Co. Ltd.

Tara the Android

Acording to investigations the official story is the android was built by a man named John Bergeron. He advertised the robot as Android Music Videos.

In the annals of scary singing robot videos, this one takes the prize as the most chill-inducing of them all, mostly because we have so many questions when we watch it.

Saya, the Reception Robot

Mitsukoshi Nihombashi department store shows off its new humanoid robot receptionist who helps guide customers to the building’s floors.

Toshiba is developing the technology behind the robot’s body movements as well as syncing the movements of Aiko’s mouth and voice.

The system also uses technology developed by android pioneer Hiroshi Ishiguro at the Osaka University Intelligent Robotics Laboratory. [via]

Creepy Girl



This is one you can actually interact with yourself, if you just head over here. It’s lifelike(ish) and interesting, but creepy. Check it out.

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