Posted on March 21, 2017 by staff

Scarlett Johansson robot to appear at university conference


A robot that resembles Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson is to appear at a university conference in Wales.

Designer Ricky Ma will appear via Skype from Hong Kong with his £35,000 ‘Mark 1’ humanoid at the inaugural It’s Your Time event on Friday 24 March at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

Ma, who is a member of the steering group for the institution’s new FinTech degree, said he is proud to be joining forces with the university.

The robot, which he built from scratch, can move its limbs, give different facial expressions and looks, and even replies when spoken to by Ricky through a microphone.

“When I started building it, I realised it would involve dynamics, electro-mechanics, and programming,” he said.

“Additionally, I needed to build 3D models for all the parts inside the robot, and to make sure its external skin and its internal parts could fit together.

“When you look at everything together, it was really difficult.”

He continued: “During this process, a lot of people would say things like, ‘Are you stupid?’ and question if I knew how to do it.

“Now, I’m hoping an investor will buy the prototype, so I can build more robots and refine the process.”

Hosted by the North Wales Business School, the day brings together lecturers, entrepreneurs, A-level students and speakers.

Anna Sung, programme leader on the FinTech degree, paid tribute to Ma and said it was a major coup to have him help shape the course and speak at the event.

Kelvin Leong, principal lecturer in finance, added: “It’s an honour for us to welcome Ricky to our conference, and to have him work closely with North Wales Business School.

“He is on our advisory committee and there to give us advice, as well as sharing his experience in building the robot.

“He will also play a role to inspire entrepreneurship at Wrexham Glyndwr, so we are proud to have him collaborate with us.”