Hyper-realistic robot launches new season of Westworld
By Staff on Wednesday, April 18, 2018
NOW TV has glimpsed into the future of marketing by promoting the return of dark odyssey Westworld using a hyper-realistic humanoid robot, inspired by the show’s artificially intelligent “hosts”.
The streaming service commissioned engineers from robotics company Engineered Arts to build ‘Fred the Robot’ who is modelled on a real 55 year old male.
Over twelve weeks the team developed several hundred thousand lines of computer code and tens of thousands of components, including a sophisticated metal skeleton, silicone skin, real hair and solid acrylic eyes, all 3D-scanned from Tedroy to bring Fred to life.
To field test Fred, producers rigged a London pub with hidden cameras and planted Fred in the bar to see if he could beguile the public, a nod to the show’s central premise where humans interact with artificially intelligent robots indistinguishable from humans.
Relaxed in the bar, the android struck up conversations with unsuspecting members of the public, telling them about Westworld on NOW TV.
Fred’s human-like interactions were controlled by Engineered Arts’ telepresence system, which uses inbuilt sensors, cameras and microphones to track what and how people interact.
He then responded appropriately with emphasised gestures and punctuated speech voiced by a remote operator. He was created to engage in natural conversation in real time as a human would.
Emma Quartly, marketing director at NOW TV, said: “We are still a long way away from creating artificially intelligent hosts as sophisticated as those in Westworld, but to celebrate the show’s return we wanted to give the general public a little taste of what is possible. Fred is the next generation in human-like robotics and so it seemed fitting to hand the show’s promotion over to him. Needless to say, there were some stunned reactions…especially when in true Westworld style he starts to glitch.”