Yesterday, we ran an article telling the story of a dentist in Japan who was arrested for “massaging” a female patient’s chest while claiming that doing so would help fix her misaligned teeth. In it, we included a photo of what appeared to be a young woman in a dentist’s chair with her mouth wide open.
We received plenty of comments on Facebook and Twitter about the news story itself, but many people also took a profound interest in the model in the photo, some feeling quite uneasy about the way she looked yet not knowing why, asking, “What’s wrong with her eyes!?”
The answer to that question is simple, but also kind of creepy: the woman in the photo is an ultra-lifelike doll used in dentistry.
Showa Hanako 2, the second version of a lifelike “android” designed by Japan’s Showa University in 2011, is intended to help dental students practice in a safe environment while receiving the kind of feedback they might from a real, human, patient.
The robot is programmed with a number of lifelike head and facial movements and can even respond to a set number of questions. Viewed in the right light, her skin, hair and eyes look almost like the real thing, with responses such as coughing and a gag reflex also kicking in when certain areas of the mouth are probed.
Oh, and if you think this all sounds a little bit creepy but you just can’t put your finger on the reason why, you might not be too surprised to learn that the robot’s lifelike silicone skin, mouth, and even tongue, were produced by Orient Industry, a company that specialises in love dolls for men.
We’ll leave you with a video from tech experts Diginfo which introduces the doll and outlines its many facets and capabilities. The robot really is quite remarkable, and given that this model has been around for two years now, we can only begin to imagine what the next model will look like. Massively creepy, no doubt!