He builds robot based on Hollywood star
Like innumerable children with imagination fired by animated films, Hong Kong product and graphic designer Ricky Ma grew up watching cartoons featuring the adventures of robots and dreamed of building his own one day.
But unlike most of the others, Mr Ma has realised his childhood fantasy at the age of 42 - by successfully constructing a life-sized robot from scratch on the balcony of his home, Reuters reported.
The fruits of his labour of a year-and-a-half project, with a budget of more than HK$50,000 (S$8,700), is a female robot prototype that he calls Mark 1.
The robot, modelled after a Hollywood star whose name Mr Ma wants to keep under wraps, responds to a set of programmed verbal commands spoken into a microphone.
HARD WORK: Product and graphic designer Ricky Ma with Mark 1, a lifesized robot he built from scratch. PHOTO: REUTERS
"I figured I should just do it when the timing is right and realise my dream.
"If I realise my dream, I will have no regrets in life," says Mr Ma, who had to learn about fields completely new to him before he could build the complex gadget.
Aside from being able to perform simple movements of its arms and legs, turn its head and bow, the robot can create detailed facial expressions.
It has dark blonde hair and liquid eyes and wears a grey skirt and cropped top.
In response to the compliment "Mark 1, you are so beautiful", the robot's eyebrows and muscles around its eyes relax.
The corners of its lips lift, creating a seemingly natural smile, and it says: "Hehe, thank you."
A 3D-printed skeleton lies beneath Mark 1's silicone skin, wrapping its mechanical and electronic parts.
About 70 per cent of its body was created using 3D printing technology.
Mr Ma, who believes the importance of robots will only grow, hopes an investor will buy his prototype to give him the capital to build more.
He also wants to write a book about his experience to help other enthusiasts.