You know how you get freaked out when something seems almost human but not quite? That’s the uncanny valley right there.
Head over to http://www.cubo.cc/creepygirl/ to check her out!
What’s Uncanny About It?
Originally, the term came from studying robotics in the 1970’s (you know, when everything was cooler and more analog) so scientists could identify that repulsion felt when a non-human form is so close to human, but by being too close, misses the mark entirely. Now the phenomenon is also used to describe human reactions to computer animations and certain medical conditions.
The “valley” is the area where your perception goes from “awe, that’s something I can relate to” to “agh! gag reflex of the brain!” where you can’t connect familiarity with the form in front of you.
Want the real deep reason we get creeped the f out?
It all comes back to survival of course. The brain’s response to things that look unhealthy or deformed is a natural defense mechanism. You know, pathogen avoidance. (Cue, running from the zombies!!)
Now this Atlantic Monthly article, and this list of examples from Stranger Dimensions can do a way better job of explaining the intricacies of the Uncanny Valley. What’s important here is that much of the success of this project hinges on if we can avoid the valley. Only time (and your internal creepiness barometer) will tell.
Got any good Uncanny Valley examples to share?