In the never-ending quest to bridge the uncanny valley, Japanese scientists have turned to one area of research that has, so far, gone ignored: the robotic ass.

Built by Nobuhiro Takahashi and a team at the Tokyo University of Electro-Communications, this is Shiri. Shiri, of course, means buttocks in Japanese, and the researchers claim that it "represents emotions with visual and tactual transformation of the muscles". Right.

While that might not be the most convincing statement you've ever read, the video certainly delivers: this is one mighty realistic ass.

The moves and twitches are made possible by a system of inflatable air bags, and the researchers believe that a user may even feel a simulated sense of fear when they trigger its twitch. Which is, obviously, demonstrated by good, firm buttock slap. Thank you, Nobuhiro. Thank you so, so much. [Shiri via Reg Hardware and Kotaku]