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Creepy clapping robots simulate human applause for unknown reasons

Okay, so we’re not entirely sure what to think of Masato Takahashi’s disembodied clapping robot arms, but we’re pretty sure “creeped-out” factors into our feelings somewhere.

Masato, a Japanese researcher at Keio University, created the “Ondz” robotic arms by coating an aluminum skeleton with urethane flesh. Designed to simulate the sound of human applause, the robots’ greater purpose remains somewhat uncertain — even to Masato.

According to Tokyo Tek, Masato believes the robotic arms could be used at concerts and other events to supplement the sound of applause, or as a stand-in for people watching the event remotely who want to show their approval.

Or they could just be used in a “spanking machine,” he reportedly said.

The arms were showcased at the 2011 Tokyo Digital Content Expo, and you can watch their weird performance below (and see more video at the official Ondz website):