So, we’ve entered the uncanny valley of robotics yet again. This is the Showa Hanako 2, a medical automaton built for training dentists that can flinch in pain and gargles like it’s choking.
This is the second version of Showa University’s dental training robot and they have pulled all the stops to make it more human like. Among the new parts is a silicon skin, motors to turn its head, and mouth pieces with more articulation. Hanako can mimic a sneeze, cough, blink, and shake its head.
It’s also equipped with voice-recognition software so the trainee can carry out a little conversation with it. Never mind the way its mouth opens while a speaker pumps out a distorted voice recording.
One more thing: Apparently Japan’s top sex-doll maker, Orient Industry, was brought in to make the Showa Hanako 2’s skin, tongue and mouth. Well, doesn’t that explain a lot? Hanako units are due to go on sale first in Japan later this year for an undisclosed sum.