Hong Kong Designer Creates Functional Scarlett Johansson Robot

Graphic designer Ricky Ma is making headlines for creating an incredibly realistic life-sized robot that resembles the beautiful Scarlett Johansson. The homemade cyborg can mimic a limited set of human movements using it’s head and limbs, and even respond to a set of programmed verbal commands spoken into a microphone. He’s even taught it to wink and say “thank you” when complimented on its looks.

Having grown up watching animated films featuring robots, Ricky had always dreamed of building one of his own. And now, at age 42, he’s managed to do just that, working from the balcony of his Hong Kong home. He had to teach himself everything about robotics from scratch, and spent over $50,000 building his first female prototype.


Photo: Bobby Yip/CFP

“When I was a child, I liked robots,” he said. “Why? Because I liked watching animation. All children loved it. There were Transformers, cartoons about robots fighting each other and games about robots.”

“After I grew up, I wanted to make one. I figured I should just do it when the timing is right and realise my dream. If I realise my dream, I will have no regrets in life.”


Photo: Ricky Ma

Although he made his first robot in the likeness of Johansson, with dark brown hair and green eyes, he decided not to name it after her, choosing to call it ‘Mark 1’ instead. Dressed in a grey skirt and a white crop top, Mark 1 is able to make simple movements with its arms and legs, turn its head, bow from the waist, and even replicate facial expressions. In response to the comment ‘Mark 1, you are so beautiful,’ it is programmed to smile, wink, and say, ‘Hehe, thank you’.

As amazing as his achievement must seem to robotics enthusiasts, Ricky says that not everyone is able to understand his obsession with robots. “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,” he told reporters.


Photo: Ricky Ma

But the graphic designer didn’t let negative comments affect him, firmly believing that the future belongs to robots. He spent several lonely hours educating himself on subjects like electromagnetics, programming, anatomy, and even art. He built 70 percent of the robot’s body using a 3D printer, and through trial-and-error, overcame several obstacles like burnt-out electric motors or the robot toppling over.

“When I started building it, I realised it would involve dynamics, electromagnetics, and programming,” he explained. “I have never studied programming, how was I supposed to code? Additionally, I needed to build 3D models for all the parts inside the robot. Also, I had to make sure the robot’s external skin and its internal parts could fit together. When you look at everything together, it was really difficult.”


For now, he hopes to find an investor willing to purchase his prototype, giving him more funds to work on more robotic models. He also plans to write a book on his experience.

Source: Cri Online

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