Casper the Friendly Communications Android

Want to reach out and touch… um… something… the next time you call a beloved family member or friend? Meet the Telenoid R1, a communications android brought into existence by famed Japanese inventor Hiroshi Ishiguro, a man who has, in the words of Daily Mail UK, “made his life’s work coming up with increasingly creepy robots.”

Ishiguro has, in the past, tried to exactly replicate living humans and once developed an eerie robot replica of himself that he named Geminoid HI-1. He also came up with a terrifyingly lifelike female robot called the Geminoid F. But the new Telenoid is something of a departure for the eccentric inventor.

Ishiguro designed the Telenoid R1 to be a robot that could appear like many different ages and that is easily transportable. It is intended to be used as a communication device so that people can ‘chat’ from long distances: the robot is supposed to be able to “transmit the presence” of a person from a distant place.

Via William Gibson. Of course.

9 Responses to “Casper the Friendly Communications Android”

  1. Ashbet Says:

    My friend Cavalorn pointed me at this today, and I find it GODAWFULLY HORIFFIC!!! Not only does it hit me straight in the Uncanny Valley (and this is from someone who collects creepy Asian dolls!), but the wriggling arms and tail bring to mind grubs, amputees, and sirenoid teratogenic babies all in one. I didn’t think you could DO that!

    Eeeeeg. *sleeps a little less soundly knowing that this thing is in the world*

  2. Jerem Morrow Says:


  3. Daniel Tysen Says:

    Good call as ever. Please keep up field reports from the Uncanny Valley.

    However, uncharacteristic, jawdroppingly ableist title much? Maybe you didn’t see the inappropriateness on writing but, ugh.

    Okay on reading up the word seems to have different connotations in the US and UK:

  4. Mer Says:

    Daniel, begging pardon for my part in this misunderstanding, can I clarify something? The title of the post was intended as multi-level pun (I always have trouble resisting making puns!) playing off the words ectoplasm, spasmodic, and android. “Spasmodic” being a human state we can all find ourselves in from time to time, my intention was not to make an ableist remark. Although I can now see how it might be taken as such, with “spasmoid” equating “spaz” or “spastic”. Woops. My apologies. In light of your response, I’ll change my wording. :)

  5. Mer Says:

    Blargh. Y’know, reviewing my title, the grammar can still be misconstrued even now that I’ve changed the wording. :/

    I think transparency is important, but I also don’t want to leave something up that’s potentially offensive. Gonna change the title entirely now to read as something else. Sigh… please rest assured, an ableist remark was NOT intended. Cheers.

  6. Daniel Tysen Says:

    Cool. I totally didn’t think you meant it, but I kind of flipped when I saw it.

  7. Mer Says:

    Understandably. Thanks for the reality check. :)

  8. Valentina Says:

    The shape of the android’s body reminds me of those Egyptian funerary dolls, which (if I’m not mistaken) didn’t have legs so that they couldn’t run away from their master.

    I’m not sure why anyone would want to hear a relative’s voice coming out of a replicant (if i am understanding that it is a telecommunications android), but I can definitely foresee people wanting to create likenesses of their deceased loved ones.

    I appreciate the Horror tag.

  9. maggie Says:

    I am scared shitless of that thing and one of my initial reactions was KILL IT WITH FIRE. It’s like an amputee child nailed to some metal construction, drugged and doomed to forever obey his master’s wishes. Nightmares. Those wobbling arms and tail/leg/something are just too much. Reminds me of Jhonen Vasquez’ Aborto.