The Ugliest Robots in the Universe

Muu Socia 3.0 robotsAs brilliant as many successful AI & robotics developers are, robots often lack aesthetic value. A recent robot debut revealed such a hideous design that I felt compelled to write up a summary of the world’s ugliest robots. So in short, this post has nothing to do with the brilliant technologies behind some of these robots — just their pretty (or not) little faces.

5. NeCoRo the Robotic Cat

If cats had facelifts, they’d look like NeCoRo.

4. Muu Socia 3.0

This one was created to “improve doctor and patient relations”.

Muu Socia 3.0 robots

The funny thing is that aside from the raindrop shell, the robot’s pretty cool. The eye is awesome. If it were my call, I’d simply remove the goo:

Muu Socia 3.0 without the shell

Here’s the only video (WMV) I could find. Shows the Muu being abused by covering up its eye.

3. Breazeal’s Kismet

Developed by Cynthia Breazeal at MIT, Kismet is perhaps one of the most frequently mentioned robots with regards to simulated emotions and emotional expression. Note: Kismet isn’t pretty, but Cynthia is.

2. WowWee’s Chimpanzee

This has to be one of the ugliest robots I’ve ever come across. I’m guessing the idea for it was born on the same acid trip weekend adventure as the Elvis robot. Sure, it’s a toy … for children from hell.

1. Probo … for children

Meet the robot that inspired me to write this post. This new robot, Probo, is funded by a Mr. Bill Gates and is intended to serve as a huggable companion for hospitalized children. (Haven’t the children suffered enough?)

Probo the ugly robot elephant

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5 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. tony

    Some of the robots are kind of funny looking, but none are really ugly except for the Probo. But come on Kismet?

  2. Hrafn

    Hey Tony. Compared to designs like RoGun, Chapit, Spyke or FT? Edit: Actually, you may notice that Kismet is the only robot on this list that isn’t intended for consumers. Kismet was designed for research on emotional expression, which meant that they emphasized obvious features for expression. It’s an unfortunate side-effect that I generally don’t find big lips, big ears and bushy eyebrows very appealing.

  3. We realize that putting a smile on a child’s face can be a life changing experience, especially when working with terminally ill children. To accomplish that, the Anty Project uses some of today’s most advanced technology to build one of the most up-to-date robots of its time called “Probo”. Probo also has a generous team of doctors and engineers working on it everyday.

  4. Hello Ivan, and thank you for your comment.

    I’d like to emphasize what I stated in the introduction of this article, that this list is solely about appearances — not about the brilliant technologies behind the robots nor the reasons for why they were built.

    I do hope that Probo will make children smile. I’m curious, did you do any surveying of what kind of character designs children responded to well while designing Probo?

    I wish you the best of luck on the project.

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