Uncanny Valley Examples
Uncanny Valley examples can be found in certain advanced humanoid robots, in the realm of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in movies and video games, in animated films and 3D animations, where near-human appearance and movements often evoke discomfort among human observers.
Such examples underscore the fine line that creators and technologists must navigate to avoid the unsettling effects of the Uncanny Valley in their designs.
Published: January 8, 2024.
What is Uncanny Valley?
The "Uncanny Valley" is a concept in the field of robotics and artificial intelligence that refers to the eerie or unsettling feeling people often experience when encountering robots or virtual characters that are highly realistic but not perfectly lifelike. The term was first coined in 1970 by the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori (external link).
Mori proposed that as a robot or an animated character becomes more humanlike in its appearance and motion, the emotional response from a human observer becomes increasingly positive and empathetic.
However, this response only holds up to a certain point. When the robot or character becomes almost, but not quite, completely lifelike, it often triggers feelings of discomfort or eeriness. This dip in the human emotional response is what Mori described as the "Uncanny Valley."
The effect is thought to arise because the highly realistic robot or character closely resembles a human but has subtle imperfections that can be unsettling.
These might include slightly off facial expressions, unnatural movement, or any other feature that is distinctly un-human. Once a design crosses this valley and becomes indistinguishable from a real human, the unsettling feeling tends to disappear, and the emotional response becomes positive again.
The Uncanny Valley is a significant consideration in fields like animation, video game design, robotics, and virtual reality, as creating characters or robots that are too realistic can have the counterintuitive effect of making them less relatable or likable.
Understanding and navigating the Uncanny Valley is crucial for designers and engineers in these fields to create more effective, empathetic, and engaging human-machine interactions.
Uncanny Valley Examples
Here are some of the most popular Uncanny Valley robotics examples (given in alphabetic order):
As one can see, technology is developing rapidly, whether we wanted or not. Having robotic aids at home and at work would be of great help, but the question remains: how far such units are from Skynet Terminators? This may sound like a funny question, but it is not...
Feel free to check what Boston Dynamics and other similar companies have to offer in this field ;o)