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The humanoid robot inspired by a Hollywood actress can create very realistic facial expressions

Humanoid robot gives Scarlett Johansson run for money

A humanoid robot inspired by the actress Scarlett Johansson has been built by a Chinese designer.

Dubbed Mark 1, the android is a product of creator Ricky Ma's life-long passion for humanoid robots. Although Ma didn’t name the actress who served as his inspiration, the resemblance to the Avengers star is rather obvious.

The robot, which cost $50,000 (£35,000) to make, is now waiting for its big break.

Ma built the robot from scratch, inspired by hundreds of cartoons featuring humanoid robots, which he has watched since childhood. It took him a year and a half to put together the prototype, which can respond to a set of programmed verbal commands spoken into a microphone.

"I figured I should just do it when the timing is right and realise my dream,” said 42-year-old Ma, who had to acquire an entirely new skill set, including programming and electromechanics, to accomplish the feat. “If I realise my dream, I will have no regrets in life."

The development process was very much about trial and error and Ma had to deal with many problems including frequent breakdowns of electric motors driving the robot's limbs and problems with its stability.

"During this process, a lot of people would say things like, 'Are you stupid? This takes a lot of money. Do you even know how to do it? It's really hard,'" Ma recalls.

The robot has a 3D-printed skeleton, which allows it to move in a very human-like fashion. It can bend its arms and legs, turn its head and bow, but also create naturalistic facial expressions. Its skin is made of silicone, which covers the mechanical and electronic parts. About 70 per cent of the robot’s body is 3D printed.

The Hong Kong-based designer worked entirely alone, as he didn’t know anyone else who shared his enthusiasm. He now hopes an investor will buy Mark 1, providing him with the capital to continue with his passion, and plans to write a book about his experience to inspire other robot enthusiasts.

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