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Is this the future? Chinese researchers unveil human-like ‘robot goddess’

Robot Jia Jia

The state of robotics is seemingly moving at warp speed these days. Not only do we have Google’s Boston Dynamics division churning out increasingly adept, capable and nimble robots, we’re also seeing a discernible improvement in the likeness robots bear to humans.

The most recent example of this comes to us via China where university researchers recently unveiled a realistic robot called Jia Jia. Three years in the making, Jia Jia ostensibly looks like a female adult, complete with facial features that can move (she blinks!), realistic facial expressions and human-like hair. Without question, Jia Jia thankfully helps us forget about that eerie looking Scarlett Johansson robot someone built last month.

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Designed to mimic a human in as many ways as possible, Jia Jia’s eyes will casually look around a room and her mouth was designed as to correspond with whatever statements she happens to be making. And to a certain extent, Jia Jia can even process events going on around her. For instance, if Jia Jia recognizes that someone is up close and taking a picture, she’ll ask for some space.

“Don’t come too close to me when you are taking a picture,” Jia Jia says, “it will make my face look fat.”

Duly noted.

While mass production doesn’t seem to be in the works just yet, the research team, led by director Chen Xiaoping, is keen on enhancing Jia Jia’s functionality in the months and years ahead.

Xinhuanet reports:

Compared to previous interactive robots, Jia Jia’s eyeballs roll naturally and its speech is in sync with its lip movements, in addition to her human-like form,  Chen said.

Jia Jia can not cry or laugh and these are areas to be developed, Chen added.

“We hope to develop the robot so it has deep learning abilities. We will add facial expression recognition and make it interact more deeply with people,” said Chen.

Chen said he hoped Jia Jia would become a wise “robot goddess.”



Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.