Madame Tussauds has taken the realistic one step further, with the introduction of animatronic robots that converse with visitors to the company’s Shanghai offshoot.

Chinese superstar Jing Boran of Monster Hunt and his sidekick Wuba has been created by Cornish robotics firm Engineered Arts. Unlike the usual static figurines, these characters interact with visitors and change their actions and behaviour according to their surroundings.

They have been made from silicon rather than Madame Tussauds’ signature wax, to give them a full range of movement and were modelled by body scanning the real Jong Boran and use photos to recreate the Chinese actor and singer.

“Normally at Madame Tussaud’s it’s a waxworks and we can’t animate wax so we had to choose a different material. Here we are working with silicon and we actually 3D printed our moulds,” Will Jackson, director at Engineered Arts said. “We got a lot of movement into these two characters. For Jing we’ve got this complete neck mechanism that’s very fluid and humanlike in its movement and also a lot of animation into its eyes.”

This isn’t just a trial though. Engineered Arts has more ideas up its sleeves, planning a whole roadmap of interact characters for both MadameTussauds and other outlets too.

“This is not jut animatronic this is robotics, so we’re bringing in senses, we’re bringing in perception, face recognition, person detection, age and gender recognition,” Jackson added. “And we’re making software framework which can control these characters and make them react to people coming into the space in a fun and unique way.”