Wednesday 7 December 2016

Fembot is modelled on Hollywood movie star

Venus Wu

Published 02/04/2016 | 02:30

Like many children, Hong Kong product and graphic designer Ricky Ma grew up watching cartoons featuring robots and dreamt of building his own one day.

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Unlike most of the others, however, Ma has realised his childhood dream at the age of 42, by successfully constructing a life-sized robot from scratch on the balcony of his home.

The fruit of his labours of a year and a half, and a budget of more than €44,000, is a female robot prototype he calls the Mark 1, modelled after a Hollywood star whose name he wants to keep under wraps. The fembot responds to a set of programmed verbal commands spoken into a microphone.

"I figured I should just do it when the timing is right and realise my dream. If I realise my dream, I will have no regrets in life," said Ma, who had to learn about fields completely new to him before he could build the complex gadget.

Besides simple movements of its arms and legs, turning its head and bowing, Ma's robot can create detailed facial expressions.

In response to the compliment, "Mark 1, you are so beautiful", its brows and the muscles around its eyes relax, and the corners of its lips lift, creating a natural-seeming smile, and it says, "Hehe, thank you."

A 3D-printed skeleton lies beneath Mark 1's silicone skin, wrapping its mechanical and electronic parts. About 70pc of its body was created using 3D printing technology.

Irish Independent

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