Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro of Osaka University made his name with an ultra-lifelike robot in his own image, but since then his projects have been creeping away from realism. His latest project, Alter, takes a step farther away again.

Created with Takashi Ikegami of the University of Tokyo, Alter has a human-like face and hands covered in silicone skin, but the rest of the robot consists of exposed electronics — a robot that constantly reminds you it’s a robot. Yet its purpose is to seem alive.

“Previous androids were made to look and feel as close to real human beings as possible by copying humans’ appearance and the way they speak,” said Ishiguro, according to The Japan Times. “But even though it has a very mechanical appearance and doesn’t say anything, Alter makes you think as if it were living.”

In the video above, where Alter was on display at the Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, you can see Alter gesticulating at museum visitors, and moving its mouth as though to talk. It may seem to have life, but only in the most disconcerting sense of the word.

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This unnerving robot acts like it's alive – CNET