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Scarlett Johansson lookalike robot to appear at Wrexham Glyndwr University conference

17 March 2017

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Photo: £35,000 Scarlett Johansson lookalike robot (left) and its inventor Ricky Ma (right)

A Hollywood actress will star at a prestigious university conference.

Designer Ricky Ma and his incredible £35,000 Scarlett Johansson lookalike robot will be among the highlights at the inaugural It’s Your Time event on Friday (March 24).

Hosted by the North Wales Business School, the day brings together lecturers, entrepreneurs, A-level students and speakers, including Colin Coxon, Business Development Manager at Manor House Stables, which was founded by Fellow and former international footballer, Michael Owen.

Ricky – a member of the steering group for the institution’s new FinTech degree – said he is proud to be joining forces with the University and appearing on the day via Skype from Hong Kong.

The 42 year-old built the ‘Mark 1’ humanoid from scratch and has appeared in magazines and on TV worldwide.

He confirmed it had been modelled on a Hollywood star but wanted to keep her name under wraps, despite the lifelike humanoid being an absolute replica of the Lost in Translation and Avengers favourite.

The robot 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.”

Ricky added: “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.”

Ricky is also thinking of writing a book for other wannabe inventors, as well as working on new designs.

Anna Sung, programme leader on the FinTech degree, paid tribute to Ricky 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.”

The event begins at 9.30am and runs until 12pm.

Other speakers include Tracy Powell, who will discuss Sports Management, and there will be an overview of the new Digital Innovation and Enterprise degree and New FinTech degree with Anna and Kelvin.

Colin Coxon will talk on Developing Sport into Business, and Andrea Hall, from North Wales Business Academy, will discuss her role in business development.

For information and to attend, email nwbs@glyndwr.ac.uk. Follow @NWBSGlyndwr on Twitter, or visit the North Wales Business School Facebook page.

Visit www.glyndwr.ac.uk for more on new courses at Wrexham Glyndwr University.

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