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Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

July 14, 2009, 8:02pm

Though none other than Judah Friedlander has declared it impossible for androids to cross the Valley of the Uncanny, the creations of Tatsuya Matsui’s Flower Robotics just might be the first to make it. The trick is, instead of straining himself against the limitations of technology to invent a robot that flawlessly mimics an ultraintelligent, grown-up human like his peers, Matsui threw in the perfection towel and said “You know what? If the best we can do right now is a robot with the artificial learning skills of a toddler, why not make something that looks and acts like a robotic toddler?” (except it was probably in Japanese). Basically, by acknowledging his machines’ sense of “weakness” and working it into their design, he’s found a way to build droids that are even more human-seeming than even the dancin’-est, most anthropoidally-moving Asimo.

In addition to siring a line of cybernetic tots that don’t totally creep us out, Matsui has also designed robots for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, and the MOMA—including an animatronic mannequin that uses visual data recognition to figure out which poses make people people want to buy their crazy-expensive clothes. Not sure how the modeling industry’s going to feel about this one, but we’re pretty stoked about the possibility of those skinny, overpaid dullards going the way of the auto-worker.