A discussion about creepy robots would not be complete without at least a passing mention of JAPAN. Were it not for its penchant for being really damn weird, I could say I was proud of my heritage. But alas, somebody over there has to go and invent some sort of drone-mounted, x-ray upskirt microscope, and ruin it for relatively normal Japanese people everywhere. You know, people who take upskirt photos the old fashioned way—a Canon taped to a broomstick.

That upskirt drone was probably made up, but Japan has already upstaged me with their thalidomide baby telephone. Where are the buttons? Do you really want to know? I hear it whispers all your regrets to you while you sleep. You didn’t tell it any of your regrets? Yeah, creepy.

Also, read this 2010 article from Device Mag to get the skinny on the Japanese cute/horrible spectrum. The article is worth the full read just for the creepy robot money shot at the end. Er…not that kind.

Update: Science writer Julian Taub informed me that the seminal “Uncanny Valley” paper, published in Japan 40 years ago, was translated this year. The irony is breathtaking. Thanks!