1. Mediaite
  2. Gossip Cop
  3. Geekosystem
  4. Styleite
  5. SportsGrid
  6. The Mary Sue
  7. The Maude
  8. The Braiser

What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

No. No no no no no no no. no.

Creepy Cell Phone Homunculus Mimics Human Facial Expressions

Yes, that is a sentence that I just wrote.

This little homunculus, known as Elfoid, is actually a cellphone, and was based on a larger robot created by Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro. A larger version, Telenoid, was designed to recreate the physical presence of a remote user in teleconferencing situations, making Elfoid the mobile version of the technology.

The idea is that the relatively featureless (and limbless, and hairless, and ear-less, and /shudder) look of Elfoid will capture the facial expression of who you’re talking to with a camera and cause your handheld to mimic them.

Says Ishiguro:

If you hold it, it will be a part of your body.

Well, I guess it’s true that since getting a smart phone I’ve come to regard it with a certain amount of affection.  It allows me to communicate in a variety of ways, I read books on it, I play games on it, I accept raid invitations with it, I browse r/F7U12 while on the bus… the question is, do I want to empathize with it as I would a conscious entity…

No. No no no no no no no. No.

This thing is somewhere between this:

And this:

When asked how he responds to comments that his Telenoid appears creepy, Ishiguro simply shrugged his shoulders and said that “it is not creepy.”


(via The Hairpin.)


  • JT

    Only in Japan. Seriously, Japan, what the hell?

  • Gracious

    I was feeling mildly creeped out until the Kodama. Now I am just excited. I guess the main question is: does the Elfoid make the flowers grow? That would be awesome, because I suck at gardening.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, you picked stills from the only two anime movies I’ve seen..that was odd. Anyways, thanks for reminding me that I need to seriously increase the amount of Japanese movies I watch.

    And yes, that thing disturbs me. I was OK with it until I saw the picture with its eyes open. Too humanoid.

  • Nicole Hazen

    Amazingly cool technology taken to the ultimate creepy level.


  • patientetherizd

    Dear Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro,

    Your phone is, in fact, quite creepy.


    Concerned Caller

  • Rebecca Rice

    Seems like something a sci-fi horror movie could be written about…well, that’d be funny and disturbing at the same time.
    I do wonder if this idea’d really catch on, though, or if it’d be one of those pieces of technology that we laugh at in years to come…

  • WhitDC

    Ishiguro is the mayor of the uncanny valley.