Scarlett Johansson Humanoid Robot Shows What Can Be Achieved With A 3D Printer
Human-like or humanoid robots are popping up at conventions and shows across the world. Companies are spending untold figures to create the very best robots and push the boundaries. Some are so life-like that they can be mistaken for the real thing.
Then there are those that work on a smaller scale, with minimal experience to create something for fun. Mark 1, a humanoid robot that looks like Scarlett Johansson, is a great example.
Mark 1 Is A Feat Of Engineering
3D printing has taken the world by storm in recent years. Now its impact is also seen in the world of building robots. Mark 1 was lovingly created from a 3D printed skeleton so that her creator could create the right shapes with minimal effort. She shows what we can now achieve with a 3D printer, some silicone, and good robotics programming.
In fact, 70% of this robot came from a 3D printer. The robot contains some facial motors that help her form expressions, notably around the mouth and eyebrows. She can react to stimuli with an appropriate response, such as winking or raising her eyebrows in surprise.
All these working parts are then covered with a silicone skin to add to that realistic appearance. Why she turned out looking so uncannily like Miss Johansson is unclear. Perhaps she was simply just a good model to work from when deliberating over the facial features.
This is all reminiscent of other human-like robots that have made the headlines. Many robotics companies across the world are working on similar projects. Most are working with the aim of developing convincing beings.
One of the most famous robots right now is Sophia, from Hanson Robotics. Sophia is on another level to “Scarlet” here as she is more expressive and advanced with better algorithms and abilities. Sophia is undergoing development to uncover the potential of human/robot relationships and interactions.
She is one of many robots taking the industry in new directions via like-like features and interactions. This Scarlett Johansson lookalike is nowhere near as complex.
The Design Process Is Remarkable
This was not designed and created by a professional robotics engineer, but instead was a passion project for the creator.
Mark 1 – who does deserve a better name than that – is the creation of one man. The 42 year-old Ricky Ma did not create this human-like robot in a studio or big budget facility. Instead, he built her in his Hong Kong home, spending most of her time out on his balcony.
She is the result of a labour of love from a single developer that wanted to learn more about robots. This is where the building process and the final result are even more impressive. These 3-D parts were all created at home, and all these parts came about from scratch with no prior experience.
Ma admits that this was a trial and error process and there is a big container of discarded parts sitting on this balcony. This is understandable from a man with no background in building human-like robots or robotics theory. He has no formal education in the subject at all.
He says that he learned everything that he needed to know about building his creation at home, independently. This is a lot of work to take on as the subjects are not for the faint-hearted. First, he needed to figure out 3D printing, design, and basic robotics.
Then he needed to develop skills in computer programming and electromagnetics. There were times when the pieces didn’t fit; the programming failed, and the appearance wasn’t quite right. Fitting a silicone skin proved to be hard work. However, perseverance paid off.
A Task That Did Not Come Cheap, But One That Ma Feels Was Worth The Effort
Ma spent the equivalent of $50,000 on the project over the course of a year and a half. Now completed, Ma is hoping that wealthy investors will buy his impressive humanoid robot. The story of a Hong Kong man creating a human-like robot replica of a Hollywood star on his balcony is amusing.
However, there is more to this than some fan having a play with robotics and a 3D printer. Ma’s success and ability to create this model shows where we are at with robotics globally. If he can make Mark 1 from nothing, imagine where the experts can take robots shortly.