This horrific love child of inherent baby-cuteness and unnatural horror and takes the Uncanny Valley, fills it to the brim with all your worst nightmares, then sets the whole thing ablaze, burning your very soul with its unfeeling gaze. What manner of man could come up with such an abomination?
The answer would be Osaka University roboticists Hisashi Ishihara, Yuichiro Yoshikawa, and Minoru Asada. The trio developed their littlest abomination, AFFETTO, to help them study the interaction between infants and their caretakers. To that end, they built AFFETTO to provide an appropriate emotional response based on the kind of physical input it receives. The results speak for themselves:
You can clearly see the ersatz infant eerily responding to the researchers' poking and prodding in a way that's both natural and unnatural. Aside from giving us insight into Japan's interpretation of child-rearing, it also makes one ask whether the AFFETTO team has a vendetta against caregivers.
[via Popular Science]