Designing humanoid robots?  Steer clear of Uncanny Valley

Designing humanoid robots? Steer clear of Uncanny Valley

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Robotics, by its nature, is an exceptionally interdisciplinary field, combining mechanics, electronics, and softwareAnd the And many more specialties in one application. And when we start to I recommend Robotic bots, the conversation becomes more interesting.

hhumanoid robots Introduce a new discipline into the mix: psychology. In imitation of human structure and behaviorAnd the movement, humanoid robots be It is subject to many psychological considerations who – which It can have significant implications for its design from an aesthetic and functional perspective.

One of the deepest psychological phenomena in The field of robotics is a concept strange valley.

Originating from research in the 1970s, Paranormal Valley describes the fact that the more realistic robots become, the more attractive they become to a certain degree. Once we cross into a certain area of ​​realism, humans begin to feel uncomfortable around a robot to the point of extreme discomfort and aversion. This level of realism he is Where lies the great annoyance In super valley.

This psychological phenomenon important considerationAnd the Because in order to achieve it widespread adoption From human-like robots, humans have to accept it on a personal and career levelAnd the and psychological level. Even if the robot can perform all its tasks perfectly and effectivelyAnd the and safely, Technology will not be widespread adopted If people feel emotionally uncomfortable around it.

In this sense, we can use the supernatural valley concept as a guide for designing human-like robots that will be accepted by humans on an emotional level.


When it comes to the uncanny valley, the ultimate goal on the design side is to stay completely out of the valley. Easier said than done Because it’s something that can’t necessarily be measured – it’s about how people feel. Despite this, we do know some traits that definitively elicit negative emotions from humans in this context. One of the main aspects of the uncanny valley is the aesthetics. Simply put, when the bots start it You have Smooth features, very similar to the human face and limbsAnd the And the body, we began to feel uncomfortable. Mentally, the appearance of the human body is not completely human is a thing We humans in general find ourselves very anxious.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome this challenge. One common technique is to make robots look completely different from humans enough to remove the strange feeling humans might have. Many robotics companies do this by designing human beings to look unfamiliarcute human or cartoon.

Tiny robots with a human-like face and body (Source: Shutterstock)

Robot aesthetics also communicate what a human should expect from a robot behavior and intelligence. The more human-like appearance of a robot, the more interaction a person has with the robot will be expected to exhibit human-like behavior and intelligence.

a movement

Another dimension that affects the uncanny valley is the way the robot moves.

In terms of robotic movement, many very subtle interactions affect how people feel about the robot and the interaction. Movement can include simple characteristics such as how the robot moves its arm: Is it normal? Is there tension? Does it take an unexpected path?

In essence, research shows that to avoid the uncanny valley with respect to movement, a human must be designed to move in a path that seems self-evident to humans. Here, more than fluidity, effective design boils down to predictability. Humans tend to get comfortable about things that conform to predictable patterns, and making a robot move in a predictable way, even if not necessarily like a human, goes a long way toward avoiding the uncanny valley.

Cultural influence of humanoid robots

For reasons that are still largely unknown, the paranormal valley elements that make some cultures uncomfortable around human-like robots may not have the same effect on other cultures. For example, Japanese engineering companies have produced some of the world’s most realistic and humanoid robots in terms of facial features and skin texture.And the and hair. In many Western cultures, this level of realism has been avoided due to the uneasy feeling it elicits, but It seems I have never As much as it is a problem in Japan.

Hence, the supernatural valley has more dimensions and levels than could originally be imagined. Perhaps most importantly, it is not difficult And the Quick rules can be set to guide the design of humanoid robots. What one person feels comfortable with may make another uncomfortable.

At the end of the day, the best way to avoid the supernatural valley is to stay away from it completely and create a safe barrier in the design that makes robots more universally acceptable.

to ensure the future where Robots are not only functional but acceptable on an emotional level, we must learn that Be intentional about the aesthetic design and user experience and be especially careful close to me The strange valley for the purpose of Design something that humans feel safe and comfortable around.

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