Making of the Geminoid - The Head
The process begins by meassuring the body of the original. Then the head, hands, and teeth are molded in order to make an exact copy. Molding the head involves buckets of silicone material to be poured over the head. An outher layer of plaster is used to stabalize the mold. for the actual molding, the head of the original is covered for about half an hour.
It takes about half a year from the mold is made to the head is finished. It would have been great to be there all the steps of the way and follow the prodedures closely. That was not possible.
As a result, much of the communication was based on videos and photos of intermediate steps of the process. To some extent, this was the most challenging part of the process. On one hand it was fascinating to see the work come along and take shape. On the other hand, at times it could be very difficult to relate to the unfinished product.
Based on the mold of the head, the artist responible for the head made a clay model.
The string in the mouth and the blue markers in the eyesockets are used as reference points for the mechanical design.
The lack of (facial) hair combined with the color of the eyes made it very difficult to reconcile this image with the appearance of Henrik Scharfe, although at stage, other facial features are taking form.
In Scandinavian tradition - and likely also elsewhere - lack of facial hair is usually understood as a sign of severe illness or radical deviant behavior. In addition - and in contract to a Japanese context - Scandinavian eyes are very sensitive to variations in eye color. At the Center for Computer-mediated Epistemology, for instance, you will find instances of blue and green eyes as well as brown eyes.
The result was a bit scary as well as frustrating.
To cope with these differences, we made a number of mixed images, based on the images of the clay model and photos of Henrik Scharfe.
By adding some beard to the mouth region as well as an eyebrow, it became much easier to see the resemblance. Substituting the blue marker with a photo of Scharfe's eye also helped a lot.
Based on the clay model a cast was made to produce the actual silicone skin of the geminoid.
In the picture to left, the silicone skin is placed on a specially designed skin stand to protect the shape while work is performed on the mechanical parts of the robot.
It is the skin stand that cause the disturbing lack of eye balls. The wire sticking out of the head above the eye is used to attach the skin to the inside mechanics.
This is as far as the artisans can go without having the original sitting next to the head. The remaining part of the process requires the original to be present in order to match skintones, wig, and other facial hair as precisely as possible.
At this stage, the personality of the geminoid clearly begins to show. And the soft texture of the silicone presents a far more believable and lifelike experience than the clay model.
The skull holds the glass eyes and the molds of the teeth. Both parts are fastened to mechanical structure that allows for movement inside the head.
The structural design of the Geminoid-DK is based on the Geminoid-F model, but because this geminoid is a masculine version, we wanted to have more room for movement. In later stages, this translates to a different pattern of movement of the finished robot.
This design choice is what makes the Gemionid-DK able to have autonomous movements that are more typical masculine than that the F model allows for.
Now the skin can be attached to the skull. And we are ready for the final stages of preparations of the robot.
The cosmetic changes after this point all serve to increase the resemblance with the original.
In a sense, the head is like a photo. It is a representation of something else. But the nature of the 3D scuplture in near-organic skin texture makes this representation something else. In certain ways we can almost say that the design of the head paves the road for a display of personality. In the same sense as a really succesfull photo may capture the personality of a person, this model can also capture aspects of personality traits.
To complete the process, facial hair and final paint must now be applied.