Given that it’s April 1, you might be inclined to believe that the tale of a man who spent 18 months and $50,000 building a robot in the shape of Scarlett Johansson was made up for goofs, but it seems awfully real so far.
42-year-old Ricky Ma of Hong Kong calls his prototype the Mark 1 and told the Mirror that the hyper-realistic robot represents the culmination of a life-long fascination with animation and robotics. In addition to moving its limbs around, the Mark 1 can approximate different facial expressions. Ma created the majority of the Mark 1 using 3D printing technology and believes his achievement is unique within Hong Kong. It really does look eerily like Johansson.
Ma makes no mention of a personal relationship with the doll, saying he’d like to sell it to an investor and write a book about his creation process. Nor does the doll appear to be built for sex — it has a 3D printed skeleton under its skin and clothes — but there’s an unmistakably sexualized element to the Mark 1:
“In response to the compliment, ‘Mark 1, you are so beautiful,’ the robot bows as the ‘muscles’ around its eyes relax and corners of its lips lift, forming a smile.”
“It then replies: ‘Hehe, thank you.’”
I’m not here to criticize anyone’s hobbies or proclivities. If this is a realization of a lifelong dream for Ma, I think that’s great, provided it doesn’t make Johansson herself uncomfortable (which, I mean, that seems likely). My only remaining question is why he made a robot so true-to-life it could double for Scarlett Johansson in a movie, yet wouldn’t confirm it was based on her.
According to the Mirror, Ma acknowledged that the Mark 1 was modeled after a “Hollywood star,” but apparently declined to say which one. I suppose we’ll never know.